5-Year-Old Cape Cod Student Could be Suspended for Making Lego Gun

A five-year-old Hyannis elementary school student could face suspension after making a lego gun during an after school program. What do you think? Does the punishment fit the crime?


The Hyannis West Elementary after school program sent a letter home to Joseph Cardosa’s parents last week explaining that Cardosa had used toys inappropriately during the program, according to FOX 25.

The letter also stated that if Cardosa received a second warning he would be suspended from the after school care program for two weeks.

Sheila Cruz, Joseph’s mother, told FOX 25 the warning is going too far and that redirection would have been sufficient.

We want to know what you think? Is the after school program being too sensitive or is the warning appropriate?

alfred e neuman January 30, 2013 at 03:08 AM
This is the town of Barnstable after all certainly we can't expect common sense to apply .
justamom January 30, 2013 at 04:58 AM
This world is going crazy... really suspend a child for playing with a LEGO GUN... how are children suppose to play cowboys and indians? or is that now politically incorrect? Can they play with a toy bow and arrow? because that is a weapon? or what about a toy car? because if you use the car inappropriately it could run over the lego man holding the lego gun and then it could be a legocide... So I guess we should just make our children sit in chairs and read...but wait... There are so many books that are politically incorrect now, we can't have them read Christmas stories, or ones that talk about violence, sex or racial inequality so that leaves the newspaper out....OMG, our poor children must just sit, they are up against idiotic educators that have years of education but lack common sense.
justamom January 30, 2013 at 05:07 AM
agree with you 100%, my dad had a gun cabinet that stood tall and proud, and we grew up respecting firearms also, and the lesson has been passed on to my three sons, and now to my grand children. They all played with toy guns and not one grew up to be a killer, but they all respect firearms......
Local PR January 30, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Adults who cannot tell the difference between a child playing with toys and a true threat to their safety should not be allowed around schools. This is one of the most idiotic things I've read in months. If this were my school district, I would seriously push to get these "educators" away from my kids.
Amy Sol January 30, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Although I realize the school probably had to make some sort of statement to the child about the gun not being appropriate in school... suspension is RIDICULOUS! Since the beginning of time boys have played cowboys and Indians, army men, cops and robbers etc.I work in a preschool and boys by nature find things to be guns... sticks, blocks, etc. I constantly tell them that they NEVER EVER point the guns at each other (if they do, the object is taken away), and you can never ever point guns at people. I hope this boy grows up to be a designer for Winchester and makes himself some big $$ . I am a mom, and a teacher and I oppose guns in general, but I don't think there is anything wrong with using your imagination to build ANYTHING... and I don't think kids who use Legos to make guns will become mass murderers in the future. TALK to the children, do not threaten and punish them!
Amy Sol January 30, 2013 at 02:36 PM
To Justamom, I believe it would be Horse ranchers and Native Americans. Poor Santa, he can't even smoke his pipe anymore. The "new" versions of The Night Before Christmas can't include the sentence "the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath". He probably shouldn't eat cookies any more either because it could encourage childhood obesity. Everyone should just stay in bed to be safe! Oh but wait.. .those bed bugs... :o
Robert Bastille January 30, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Taryn Thoman January 30, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Barnstable parents are doing so in record numbers.
Robert Bastille January 30, 2013 at 03:58 PM
If our soldiers or police all carried Lego guns we'd be screwed! There is nothing wrong with guns... (Guns are an important part of culture and heritage.... not to mention being protected under the constitution... that's pretty important stuff) but a ban on hammers is something to look at... yes I said hammers... according to recent FBI statistics, you are more likely to be murdered with a hammer than a rifle... how many kinder kids are banging away with those plastic toy hammers right now as we speak? Maybe the IDIOTS in the Barnstable Schools need to be focusing measures to protect kids from hammers! They can join up with the police and sponsor a hammer buy-back program to take hammers off the streets.... then they can pass their "knowledge" on to the building department so we can have a town wide ban on hammers and any project requiring these dangerous weapons. Next we can have a candle light vigil on the town green to mourn all the unnecessary hammer deaths... How many more will be murdered by hammers.... I'm a teacher too... and I oppose HAMMERS! (and don't get me started on forks... 400,000 die every year from obesity... oh nooooooooooooo!) Of course I'm just being facetious...
Robert Bastille January 30, 2013 at 04:03 PM
teachers and government need to stop banning and censoring free Americans PERIOD. They need to stop picking on 5 year olds and do their jobs... I hope the all “educators” involved are reading this piece of advice: “You need to apologize to that child and his family... then you need to pack your pencils and elitist ideas about how to brainwash our children... pack all that BS into you little environmental friendly green-mobiles and leave town. US History is what it is... and yes, it involved lots of guns to protect our rights and freedoms... I'm proud of that. You apparently are not. Move to England where you belong.” P.S. THAT FIVE YEAR OLD BOY THAT YOU ARE TORTURING WILL HAVE TO REGISTER FOR THE DRAFT/ SELECTIVE SERVICE AT AGE 18 TO DEFEND HIS COUNTRY.... SHOW HIM SOME RESPECT.. IF HE WANTS TO PLAY WITH LEGO GUNS AT HIS AGE TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT WHO HE IS, WHO ARE YOU TO CENSOR HIS CREATIVITY?
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau January 30, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Seriously, "Prepare your child for the road ahead instead of trying to prepare the road for your child" is some of the best parenting advice I've seen in a long time. Bravo.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau January 30, 2013 at 05:16 PM
The real threat here isn't a child using creative toys to build a toy gun. The threat is that the school is willing to punish a child for being a child. The after school program teacher/supervisor should be fired and replaced with someone who has the capacity to understand the mind of a 5 year-old. Praise the boy for being creative, then gently explain that guns hurt people and a school is a place for learning and caring.
Mark Lewis January 30, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Don't demonize the gun, that has an agenda as well. You explain to them that toy guns are not allowed at school, that's how it is. My 4 year old understands this perfectly. Some toys are inside toys, some are outside, some are for at home, some are for at school.
Mark Lewis January 30, 2013 at 05:41 PM
My assumption would be that the parents brought the story to the news and his name was included in that. But, I do agree it should not have been published, even if they have it.
Robert Bastille January 30, 2013 at 05:52 PM
I just saw this little boys photo with his mom... he looks like a very bright child... here's something nobody is talking about... did anyone ever consider that having a toy gun in some way may actually comfort this child in light of recent school shootings? As a teacher I have seen many little boys use toys to make them feel more secure.... this boy probably knows full well that his teachers are not prepared to defend him should some nut walk in with a real weapon... smart boy being punished for being realistic? who knows.. I hope he gets better teachers soon.
Taryn Thoman January 30, 2013 at 06:53 PM
"If I had a Hammer" was one of the first songs I played in Folk Mass in the early 70's. I wonder if it's been banned from I-tunes yet!
Taryn Thoman January 30, 2013 at 07:09 PM
It's abusive to instill so much fear in our very young children. If it's going to remain PC to ban toy guns fine. Ban stupid threats as well. Redirect the child's attention to another activity, and talk to the child about having concern for others. It's what we do in polite society. It's not dangerous to swear or fart in public, but we generally avoid it out of consideration for others' feelings. I suppose Lego guns in aftercare could be explained the same way, but suspension or any other punishment is going too far.
Mark Lewis January 30, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Interesting thought but I doubt that he does. He is old enough to know that one is a toy, the other is real. I understand children seeking comfort in toys, but I would expect him to use something more "functional" even if a toy, like a sword or something, or making a bulletproof vest, something that the difference between a real one and a toy one is less apparent.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau January 30, 2013 at 07:42 PM
No demonizing Mark, the #1 purpose of a firearm throughout history is to convey harm upon an animal or person at a distance, and that is EXACTLY what children should be taught. Firearms were not invented for target practice, competitive shooting or for playing. The argument that "I have guns for protection" simply means be prepared to do harm first if you are threatened with harm. That is completely acceptable. Kudos to you for taking the time to explain toy etiquette to your child, many parents fail to recognize the importance of such things.
Mark Lewis January 30, 2013 at 07:53 PM
The gun itself doesn't do anything on it's own is more my perspective, no more than a knife or an axe does. I would rather teach a young child that they CAN be dangerous and MUST be respected than telling them that their purpose is to cause harm. While, yes, that is a predominate use of them, we should be teaching that any dangerous item is not allowed at school to keep people from getting hurt. That helps them learn that the problem isn't the item in and of itself. In turn, it keeps them from asking mom or dad why they have a gun when all the do is hurt and forcing the parent to re-teach them and put them at odds with the school or teacher. It also encourages them to think about other items that might be dangerous and appropriate places and uses for them. More critical thinking than blindly following rules. I do try VERY hard to make sure he is polite and respectful of EVERYONE, adults, other children and associated rules. Just because you can do XYZ at Mom's that doesn't mean you can do XYZ at Dad's, same goes for school, other peoples houses, etc. He's not perfect, but I think that it's a good start. Thank you for the kind words.
Hopefulforchange January 30, 2013 at 11:55 PM
It's actually nice to see a story on here that actually makes people want to respond to it. Doesn't happen very often on Cape Cod news stories. I'm also glad to see so many rational adult responses instead of everyone being politically correct.
Tayla January 31, 2013 at 12:41 AM
This child is 5 and obviously doesn't understand guns are dangerous and inappropriate for school or in general. And for people who say this child should get suspended is absurd because guns are EVERYWHERE now! From tv shows, childs cartoons, even the news!! Kids heard about the guns specially with the horrible day at Sandy Hook, since parents watch the news and the children are there to listen... So whoever thinks they should be suspended think AGAIN!!!!!
Bruce Stuart January 31, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Missing the point. A kid making a toy gun and pointing it is one thing.... A kid being told to stop doing something that is disruptive is totally another.
Taryn Thoman January 31, 2013 at 05:11 PM
The warning said the boy "used toys I appropriately". It was only after the mother went to the press that the administration made a villain out if the 5 yr old. The good news is that mom may have a new multi-age charter school to send her son to in a year or so.
Mark Lewis January 31, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Nice try, but the problem was that he made a lego gun, not that he was being disruptive.
Mark Lewis January 31, 2013 at 06:19 PM
I would say sending a letter home for making a lego gun, which is what he did when he "used toys inappropriately" was making him a villain. Everything in the news story was exactly what the school did before the news story, otherwise, it couldn't be in the news story.
Mark Lewis January 31, 2013 at 06:19 PM
For those interested, you can write this "Principal at Amato_Kathi@barnstable.k12.ma.us and let her know your thoughts.
Taryn Thoman January 31, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Now the superintendent is saying the reprimand had nothing to do with the gun, but the boy's repeated bad behaviors towards other children. The fact that she talked about Sandy Hook Elementary as part of her response to the reprimand damages the credibility of her story, and by association, administrators at HyWest.
Mark Lewis January 31, 2013 at 06:31 PM
I see. Yeah, I agree.
Robert Bastille February 01, 2013 at 03:13 AM
NICE TRY Czajkowski! Are you kidding me? We're talking about about a 5 year old making a "gun" out of LEGOS and making shooting sounds? Did he go “bang bang?” or did he go “Pooosh Pooosh?” -whatever it was, it must have been 'terrifying" for both you and your staff - perhaps counseling for a major post traumatic event is in order. GIVE ME A BREAK! And it astounds me that you'd rather take the side of one of your full grown adult teachers (and why don't you release his/her name?) than to realize that you're dealing with a very normal 5 year-old child! Show me one red-blooded American who has not done the same thing while playing! This child did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong and you are projecting your inadequacies onto this very young and innocent kid. Do we know live in a culture where the only thing some insecure "educators" can do to rationalize their inability to keep children safe is to pick on the very children they serve... c'mon, give me a freakin' break! this child has been harassed by both you and your 'teachers' and you know it! I've said it before, and I'll say it again, you owe this child and his family and friends a sincere apology... until that happens you can expect zero support from me and other members of the community... have you ever considered how this boy's classmates feel? knowing that they can be singled out and chastised and threatened just for expressing themselves in a playful manner? You all make me sick. Shame on you.


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