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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Camarillo

Radio Report on Boy False, Principal Says

March 24, 2000|ANNA GORMAN

Administrators at Las Colinas Elementary School in Camarillo said Thursday that a radio report about a student being harmed after turning in his fourth-grade classmate for bringing a toy gun to school was inaccurate.

After the radio report Thursday morning and numerous calls from parents, acting Principal Pete Swavely and teacher Nancy Nasalroad talked to the student who told on his classmate. The boy said he had not been hurt, Swavely said.

"The student himself didn't know what everyone was talking about," Swavely said. "His reaction was very open and honest."

The incident started Tuesday, when a fourth-grade student brought an orange plastic cap pistol to school and pulled it from his backpack during class to show a friend, Swavely said.

After the incident, a classmate told the teacher, who reported what happened to the principal, who suspended the student for one day.

In today's climate, Swavely said, situations often get blown out of proportion. "As soon as you mention the word gun and school in the same sentence, nothing else matters," he said.

Andre La Couture, superintendent of the Pleasant Valley Elementary School District, said he encourages teachers to talk to students about what is appropriate to bring to school. Students who bring real guns to school are expelled, but students who bring toy weapons to campus are usually suspended, La Couture said.

There was one incident of weapons possession and there were two assaults involving weapons in the school district during the 1997-98 school year, according to a Ventura County Grand Jury report.

Administrators and teachers encourage students to be honest, even if it means reporting a classmate. Nasalroad used the incident to teach a lesson about doing the right thing.

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