4-year-old suspended for bringing a shell casing to preschool daycare, goes viral on Facebook

COLLINSVILLE, IL (KTVI) – The Collinsville mom behind a viral Facebook post spoke to Fox 2/News 11 Wednesday.

Her son, Hunter, 4, has been suspended from his preschool for bringing a shell casing from a fired bullet to school.

He'd been at the preschool for about a year, she said, and now was in tears.

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Neither she nor Hunter's dad knew it, but he found something he thought was pretty neat and he took it to school Tuesday to show his friends.

"This is a spent .22 caliber bullet casing," Kristy Jackson said, holding the object that got Hunter into so much trouble.

"I was met with a stone-faced teacher who said that my son had a shotgun bullet. I was horrified thinking, 'where could he have gotten this?'" Jackson said, recalling when she picked up Hunter from the preschool in Troy, IL, Tuesday.

Hunter's parents got a letter from the school's director saying Hunter had been suspended for 7 days. The letter says they'd repeatedly been reminded about Hunter using other toys as make-believe guns, in violation of school policy including Monday, when Jackson picked Hunter up from the preschool, the day before the shell casing incident.

The school's vice-president told Fox 2 the suspension was for more than the shell casing; that the school was simply following its discipline policy. He said he couldn't go into further detail, citing confidentiality concerns.

"He's cried about it and he doesn't understand why his school hates him," Jackson said of her son.

Her Facebook post about it being shared across the country.

It turns out the casing came from a visit with Hunter's grandpa who is a Caseyville police officer, Jackson said.

He's made it a point to teach Hunter about hunting and responsible gun use at a young age.

"[Hunter] just was wandering around in a field and picked up and put it in his pocket and didn't tell his parents...it's paranoia. It's something that's become quite an epidemic where guns are automatically assumed that they're bad...and I'm not sure how a 7-day suspension teaches my son anything about tolerance or anything about why he was wrong. It just means his school doesn't want him there because of things he enjoys," Jackson said.

The school's vice-president e-mailed her that he was notifying the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). He confirmed that to Fox 2 but said since A Place 2 Grow was licensed by DCFS, DCFS needed to be notified.

Jackson said she was not sure if Hunter will return after the suspension.

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