TROY, IL (KTVI) - The owner of a preschool says people needed to go beyond the headlines. The suspension of 4-year-old Collinsville boy from A Place 2 Grow preschool has stirred national debate. The boy came to school with a bullet casing he found.
A Place 2 Grow’s owner, founder, and vice-president, Roy Jarmon, said he’d been inundated with hateful messages. He had to shut down the preschool's Facebook page. He says the suspension stemmed from much more than the bullet casing.
“I can’t stress to everybody enough, the child was not suspended over a spent shell casing. The hate mail is coming from Washington state to Georgia, and Florida,” Jarman said. “I’m a conceal – carry person myself. My children shoot guns. My wife can shoot a gun. Nobody here is afraid of guns.”
He had gotten only messages of support from the parents of the more than 100 preschoolers, he said. Kristy Jackson was in disbelief when she was told her son Hunter, was suspended from the preschool for a week. A letter from school says Hunter and his parents have been told repeatedly about Hunter using toys as make believe guns, in violation of school policy.
In the interview with Fox 2 Jarman added that other parents complained about graphic details in those make believe incidents. Those incidents, more than the bullet casing led to the suspension, he said. The suspension had been especially tough for Hunter to take, his mother said.
“(Hunter) cried about it and he doesn’t ‘understand why his school hates him,’ he said,” Jackson said.
“We don’t hate Hunter,” Jarman said. “We have disciplinary policies that we have to follow and we followed those…we’re here to teach the kids to be ready for kindergarten. We’re here to teach them colors, how to read, their letters. It’s not a teaching moment to teach these kids about guns…nobody here hates anybody. That word just grinds my gears.”
Hunter is welcome to return to preschool next week, he said, but the suspension stands.
Hunter apparently found the casing while with his grandpa, a Caseyville police officer, who’s made it a point to teach Hunter about hunting and gun safety at a young age.