Students disciplined for using 'snaps' at school

Mother of 5th grader wants wording of discipline changed

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A 5th grader at Otis Mason Elementary School in St. Johns County is trouble for bringing in "snaps" or "poppers" into school and handing them out to other students.

Popularly called "snaps," the small, fireless firework explodes or snaps when it is thrown onto the ground.

"I popped mine in art class," said Eviyana Harris. "The other kids did it everywhere else, in the hallway, cafeteria, other classrooms."

The 5th grader admits that she threw the snaps in school. Harris said she enjoys the sound they create and the fun of playing with poppers, but she agrees it was in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Harris and six other students were given referrals or notices regarding their punishment for using the "snaps" during school hours.

Harris said she learned her lesson.

"What's the lesson," asked Channel 4's Kent Justice.

"Not to take stuff from people unless you know it's appropriate for school," said Harris.

"C'mon, they're poppers. I'm pretty sure they played with poppers when they were young," said Amanda McBride, Harris' mother. "If they didn't, then they missed out on something and they need to try it. Not at school. Do it at home."

Harris' mom said she fully supports the school principal and the discipline given to her daughter, which means that Harris can't go to the end of the year field trip to Sea World.

McBride said she is worried that the discipline referral from the school will unfairly follow her daughter.

"It's going to say 'possession, distribution, use of gun powder,'" said McBride. "That's the whole thing in a nutshell, right there. Reword it, I'm okay. Miss the field trip, shouldn't have had them, I'm okay with that."

A St. Johns County Schools spokesperson told Channel 4 that all the students involved in the incident received referrals and that some did receive harsher punishments than others.

The school confirmed that some of the kids were banned from field trips, but wanted to stress that the kids were disciplined for the disruption at school, not the snaps themselves.