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By , Montgomery Advertiser

PRATTVILLE — A family is up in arms after their 16-year-old daughter was expelled from Prattville High School for having a water gun on campus.

The Autauga County Board of Education expelled Sara Allena “Laney” Nichols in February for a year from all schools in the county and she was 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.

“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.”

Read the rest of the story at the Montgomery Advertiser