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N.J. 6th Grader Suspended After Finding Lighter

Father Livid School District Called Object A 'Weapon'
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A Lighter - File Photo

A Lighter – File Photo

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JAMESBURG, N.J. (1010 WINS/ CBS 2) - A head-scratching act of discipline has perplexed a New Jersey town. A sixth grade student was suspended from school amidst a very serious accusation.

But as CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reports, the boy’s family said the school’s accusations are overzealous.

“I’m not happy about this, no,” Pat Halpin said.

Halpin said he still can’t believe his 11-year-old son Owen, a Boy Scout, was suspended from his middle school in Jamesburg for carrying what administrators called “a weapon.”

“Why is he being suspended for a lighter?” Halpin said.

That’s right. The weapon they said was a lighter. Owen said he found it on his way to school Wednesday on school property and brought it to the bleachers. Another student saw it and told a teacher who then confiscated it and alerted administrators.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg speaks with Patrick Halpin, the student’s father

“We take our security here very seriously,” said Jamesburg School District superintendent Gail Verona.

Verona said she stands behind the suspension.

“We have a zero tolerance for anybody bringing in anything that could cause potential harm to our students,” Verona said.

But Owen’s dad said his son never even flicked it and is still burned about the term “weapon.”

“My son’s a Boy Scout. He will pick something up and throw it in the garbage. This is what his intent was,” Halpin told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.

“Well, I consider anything that can cause potential harm a weapon,” Verona responded.

But the story doesn’t end there. Oh no, not by a long shot.

Halpin called local police, alerting them there were more weapons in the school. He said some teachers there probably carry lighters. The cops came, talked to school officials and that was that.

Owen was suspended for one day. He was back in school Thursday.

When asked if he made a mistake, Owen said, “Yeah, definitely. Really stupid mistake to bring a lighter into school.”

Where many are hoping the lighter story will flame out and go away.

Jamesburg Police said they support the school’s decision to suspend the student for a day.

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