School Gives Veteran’s Special Needs Son The Boot Over Paper ‘Gun’

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June 16, 2014 1:18pm PST

A New York special needs student was kicked out of school after he rolled up a piece of paper and made a toy “gun” with it.

8-year-old Asher Palmer has been diagnosed with ADHD and communication problems so he attended a private school in Manhattan. The school’s principal, Micaela Bracamonte, insisted that Asher “had a model for physically aggressive behavior in his immediate family,” in an email to fellow staff members.

The model? According to Asher’s mother, Melina Spadone, Bracamonte was referring to her husband serving in the military during the Kuwait war, and she said “I find it offensive and inappropriate.”

“Asher is exactly the type of student Lang [School] is supposed to be serving. Why they did this doesn’t make sense,’’ Spadone said.

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The toy “gun” was a piece of rolled up paper that Asher made after talking about military weapons with his father. Along with the gun, the school claims that Asher said that he would “kill” a girl in a separate incident.

Spadone said that the whole point of sending Asher to the school was because they’re supposed to help with social-behavioral issues that kids like Asher have. She believes that Asher was suspended due to irrational fear by the principal following the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

Asher’s parents, who are working on finalizing their divorce, have already prepaid the school $119,500 for five months’ worth of schooling for him, including a one-on-one teacher, and didn’t learn about the decision until after.

“I am stunned … We did not invest $120,000 toward Asher’s success for a five-month period. It was understood, and, in fact, contractually agreed, that Asher would be returning next year,” Spadone said in an email to the principal.

Bracamonte sent an email to the boy’s teachers and psychologist that said “I don’t see it tenable at this stage that Asher receive a warning for the specific behavior we’ve agreed on targeting — i.e. use of pretend guns on fellow students and mention of killing.’’

She went even further and added that he “had a concrete plan for killing [a female student] that he would not retract after discussion with our psych staff … that he was physically and verbally aggressive at a whole new level only last week … He might well present a risk to the emotional and possibly (though remotely so) physical safety and well-being of his classmates.’’

Her recommendation is that Asher be home schooled, and should he be able to return to school in the future “I heartily hope that Lang will be one of the schools you consider at that point.”

Spadone said that her son enjoyed going to the school and that when she spoke with the parents of one of his classmates they said the two got along well. They also said that their son doesn’t feel threatened by sher in the least.

Not surprisingly, Bracamonte wouldn’t comment on the matter.

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