16-Year Old Expelled for Having a Toy Water Gun on Campus

Laney Nichols

A 16-year old girl was expelled from Prattville High in Alabama for a year for having a water gun on campus, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

A black water gun

The Autauga County Board of Education said Sara Allena “Laney” Nichols is banned from school property and any extra-curricular activities for the same period.

Her mother, Tara Herring, admits she had the water gun on campus, but questions the severity of the punishment.

Superintendent Spence Agee declined to comment for this story, citing BOE policy forbidding comments on any disciplinary actions relating to students.

“She’s 16 and doesn’t know what it means when you hear ‘gun’ on campus,” Herring said. “We admit what she did was wrong. I was hoping this could be a teachable moment for her. We’re not saying she should not have been punished. But she took a 10-day suspension. And then the board expelled her. We feel the expulsion is excessive.”

She said a male classmate handed the toy to her daughter “as a joke.” Herring admits the water pistol was black, and at first glance, it would be easy to think it was a real gun.

 “But the second you picked it up, you know its plastic and a toy,” she said. “So we can understand the initial reaction, not knowing it wasn’t a real gun. But after the principal and school officials knew it was a water gun, things should never have progressed this far.”
The male classmate handed the water gun to Laney in the hall after seventh period on Jan. 27, Herring said. She put it in her backpack and then put it the backseat of her car.
Another student reported Laney for having a gun.

“Laney admitted she had the gun and told them it was a water gun and in her car. She and the other boy were silly and made a mistake. But the punishment she received was completely out of line for what happened.”

The family hired an attorney and are pointing the finger at the boy who gave her the gun as part of a scheme. The family wants the word “expulsion” removed from her records and listed as a voluntary removal, which is how it happened. The expulsion came after the mother withdrew her from the school.

The male student who gave her the gun brought another water gun to school months later and was only given an in-school suspension along with a friend who was involved.

Laney has been homeschooled since the expulsion. She and her younger sister are seeking acceptance at Autauga Academy.

The family loved Prattville but have lost all confidence in the schools.


  1. Why are people putting up with these stories. If I still had kids in school I would most certainly seek to remove any and all officials who support these ridiculous policies. It’s about time the public not only speak out but DEMAND an END to this total lack of common sense. Why should anyone who Lacks common sense be allowed anywhere near children.

    In the time I grew up in if there were such disruptive students that caused constant problems they would have been sent to a ‘reform school’. Those who might have been borderline had enough fear of that possibility and would subsequently think twice before acting up. All one needed to do was make it a condition.

    It is quite evident when you get a small number of these disrupters it can have a deleterious effect on others. From there it spreads and spreads. We see this with the Antifa crowd and among others.

    This reminds me of a situation of a time with my children when they were younger. We went to an historical setting called Cowtown. It patterned everything after old times, including a blacksmith shop and a one room schoolhouse among other things. The school was run just as it would have been at the time. When all the kids were in the class, and before the teacher entered, there was quite a bit of uproar and running around. The teacher entered and the first she did was set down all the “rules” for the class. When a student had to ask a question he would have to raise his hand and if called upon had to stand and address the teacher as Mrs. So and So etc. Everything was done in an atmosphere of formality. If anyone didn’t follow those rules he was told to leave. I was really impressed how the tone set down actually had all the children behave in a Very respectful manner. From my own personal experience I noticed it began to change during the mid to late sixties.

    And a word about curriculum. My mother told me about a set of books the schools used when she went to school. They are called the McGuffey readers. I happened to see a set when at a local Farm type museum which included a stagecoach ride. How anyone can stand to ride in one of those for all day is beyond me. In any event I purchased the set for my daughter when she home schools her kids. She didn’t seem interested. The set includes six volumes. I wouldn’t be surprised if seniors would be unable to fully complete each volume. It is amazing the depth the children of 100 years ago were required to know.

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