Reported By Andy Cordan, Reporter
(WKRN) For the rest of the semester, a Rutherford County elementary student has to eat lunch at the "silent table" for allegedly waving around a slice of pizza some say resembled a gun.
Nicholas Taylor attends David Youree Elementary School in Smyrna, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.
School leaders say the 10-year-old threatened other students at his lunch table with a piece of pizza with bites out of it so it looked like a gun and when asked about it was initially not truthful.
Nicholas' mother LeAnn calls her son's punishment "absolutely ridiculous" saying he was just playing around and never said anything derogatory or anything about shooting anyone.
"The kid across the table from him said it looked like a gun so he picked it up and started shooting it in the air," she told Nashville's News 2 Investigates.
Taylor said she learned of the incident when the school sent her a note saying her son was threatening other students.
James Evans, spokesperson for the Rutherford County School District, said the boy isn't being punished because he had a piece of pizza shaped like a gun.
He's being punished because "some students reported he was making some threatening hand gestures, that he was shooting other kids at the table and they reported it to a teacher," according to Evans.
He continued, "The student didn't tell him the truth about it so he got silent lunch for six days."
Evans called the punishment minor but said the message is clear.
"I realize some might say we are going overboard but the principal is just trying to use an abundance of caution and send the message that we don't play about guns and it's not something we joke around about," he said.
To that, Taylor said her son knows he shouldn't play with guns.
"We don't have a gun in the house," she said. "He plays with light sabers. He's a big Star Wars fan."
In addition to lunch at the silent table, Nicholas has spent time with the school resource officer learning about gun safety.
Taylor said the school system has made it clear that if her son eats his pizza into the shape of a gun again and there is a similar occurrence, he will be suspended.