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Normally a story like this would be titled ‘Zero Tolerance Government Functionary of the Day: Micaela Bracamonte.” I say normally, because expelling an 8-year-old for wielding a paper gun is the kind of knee-jerk, I’m-sorry-that’s-just-our-policy reaction we’ve come to expect from modern public schools. But little Asher Palmer attends — sorry, attended — the private Lang School in Manhattan. Lang, as their web site describes, is “a progressive, independent K-12 school for high potential and gifted children with ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s Syndrome, anxiety, sensory processing challenges or, simply, underachievement.” Asher, according to, has social-behavioral issues, ADHD and communication problems. So you’d think a school like Lang — to which the Palmers paid $120,000 in tuition — would be just the place for a kid like Asher . . .

Micaela Bracamonte courtesy
Micaela Bracamonte

And it was, until the school’s founder and principal, Micaela Bracamonte decided a rolled up tube of paper that looks more like a pastry bag than a rifle presented a real and present danger to Lang’s student body. But there may be more going on here than just some garden variety Pop Tart gun stupidity. Asher’s father served in Kuwait during the first Iraq war.

As far as the toy gun is concerned, [Asher’s mother] said Asher, a first-year student, made it out of a piece of paper after discussing military weapons with his dad. His teachers told him not to point it at anyone, and he obeyed for a while.

The school claimed Asher also said he’d “kill’’ a girl in a separate incident — a typical argument between youngsters. While her son may have made the threat, Spadone said, people use the word “kill’’ all the time, and it shouldn’t be taken literally.

Is that really too much to deal with for a school that specializes in difficult, special needs, “twice-exceptional” students? Apparently it is if the kid is unfortunate enough to live with a one-time violent war monger.

“Asher is exactly the type of student Lang [School] is supposed to be serving. Why they did this doesn’t make sense,’’ his outraged mom, Melina Spadone, told The Post.

She was incensed that Principal Micaela Bracamonte told other staffers in an email that Asher “had a model for physically aggressive behavior in his immediate family.’’

Spadone thinks Bracamonte was referring to her husband because he served in the military during the Kuwait war. If that was the reason for the comment, she said, “I find it offensive and inappropriate.’’

So the Ms. Bracamonte — someone who “embrace(s) each student’s individuality, nurture(s) their gifts, and empower(s) them with self-knowledge, self-organization and problem-solving skills” — looks at little Asher and sees a budding Adam Lanza. And why not, since militarism and violence clearly run in the family?

To quote Cyril Lang for whom the school is named, “There’s nothing wrong with the genetic makeup of these students. It’s the educational system that’s declining. We are bearing witness to the triumph of mediocrity.” Pretty much says it all.

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  1. Feel sorry for the poor kid. Great for us, though! The crazier the anti’s get, the less popular they will be, and the public will get more exposure to the thought of appropriate relevance of guns.

    • The wingnuts have gone over the edge and will take their whole insane philosophy with them. Eventually. But they will harm millions of innocent people before we have had enough of them and consign them to the garbage heap of history, where they belong.

  2. The 2nd Amendment has no chance of survival if we as a country are unable to stop the police state rules, aka zero tolerance, in our schools.

    • Zero tolerance in schools leads to zero tolerance in society. How about zero tolerance for stupidity, inept leadership, and lawless elected officials.

  3. Wow. Many years ago I worked at a facility for the developmentally disabled. It seems to me the WRONG person was labeled “retarded”. This is way beyond offensive. If mom and pop can pay $120000 a year(!) they should lawyer up & sue the s##t outa’ ms. brocamonte.

  4. You send your kid to an indoctrination center like that, what else would you expect? It surely sucks for the family, and I don’t really want to seem insensitive, but come on – a self-described “progressive” private school in Manhattan? How could you reasonably expect a different outcome? They’re just lucky the SWAT team wasn’t called when he deployed that “weapon”.

    Hope they at least got a refund for that ridiculous tuition cost.

      • It’s true – the radical feminists will be claiming that the burquas are pro-womyn since when you’re wearing a burka you don’t have to suffer lookism and other micro-aggressions. And also you can have unshaven legs and pits.

    • Oh, they’re here, but it’s a kinder, gentler Jihad. One waged against people who just don’t understand that rich people with arts majors are much better at running your life than you are. It’s the most tolerantly intolerant holy war you ever did see…

  5. Here’s yer bitter/poetic irony: April 1981:,1982115

    “Teacher, Cyril Lang, guilty of teaching Aristotle to 10th graders”

    • “ROCKVILLE, Md (AP).” No need to read any further. Proof that the lunatics are running the asylum.

      Can I please have America back?

    • That’s expensive for Genie Garage door openers. You can get much better models today for under $200.00. See what comparative advantage in trade does for the cost of goods.

  6. Y’know, I went to an extremely pink private high school from 2001-2005. Being ADD as hell, I would sketch while I took notes to keep my brain busy enough to absorb information. (I decided to work without meds for the most part.)

    On several occasions, teachers spotted my various tanks, machine guns, and fighter jets interspersed with my notes, but I never got more than a bemused comment from any of them.

    Reading so many stories like this one, I’m ever more grateful that my teachers weren’t complete idiots, and realized that boys just do stuff like that.

    • Huh, we could have switched notebooks and nobody could tell the difference. Well, mine would have had more Desert Eagles in it. Teenage me really wanted a DEagle. Adult me loves his semi auto .44.
      But yeah, one progtard teacher looks in my notebook, they would have suspended me for fear that i was going to try to kill the skool with matched handcannons or something.

  7. FYI, a “progressive school” is one in which students progress from kindergarten to first grade, to second grade, etc. It is not a reference to political ideologies taught at the school.

    The double entendre is striking though.

    • If you want to believe that the word progressive is actually being used in academic sense more power to you. What’s your take on Progressive Taxes?

  8. 120,000 Thousand a year…

    180 school days a year…

    $667 bucks a DAY!

    Still trying to wrap my brain around that…

    • They probably got the decimal point a little too far to the right when they handed out the tuition bill.

  9. This is what we get when we put self-described “Progressives” (READ: Statists) in charge of literally anything, ever, in the history of ever.

  10. The kid should have drawn an NYPD shield on the gun and embellished it with “To Protect and Serve.” Then his teachers would have adored him.

  11. Despite the glowing words and $120,000 tuition, doing something like this to a little kid shows that this school is nothing more than a shuck-and-jive operation primarily intended to take money from rich parents. Speaking as a former principal of a school not unlike the Lane School, I’m sitting here shaking my head at how completely witless this stupid woman was in responding like this. Not only did she needlessly bring more grief into the life of a little kid (ADHD is not fun for anybody, especially little kids) who had more than his share to begin with, she also lost a family who could afford to pay that huge tuition. We would never have treated a kid or his family like this. Trust me, even in NYC there aren’t that many people who can shell out 120k per year for their 8 year old kid’s education. So what should have happened? Simple: “Hey, kid. Stop that right now!”. End of issue.

  12. Sue the school to make them return the tuition. Make the school prove in court that it was a lethal paper tube. It looks like a paper water gun to me. At most it would just make you “imaginary” wet.

    • Julien Olsson, 10, of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn…
      …the camp’s leader, psychologist Lesli Preuss.
      …trying to make the harrowing ordeal into a learning experience for her son.

      Hipster much? Precious little [undetermined gender – honest, I tried] snowflake almost gets killed by doing a Class A Stupid in public and gets milk and cookies. Luckily the rescue worked out because latent instinct took over through the meds. Parade tomorrow.

      Were ANY adults present? Anywhere? Darwin is doing 78 rpm in his grave.

      • The fact that he’s a boy is mentioned twice in the first two lines!

        On top of that, you seem to totally miss the point the mom was making, which is basically to smarten up the kid and make him think about how to do things different.

        Honestly, her approach sounds just like Sheriff Andy Griffith…that noted hipster.

        Liberals have their sucky points, but you went out of your way to invent some vitriol here Bill.

  13. We live with these sorts of witless functionaries here in NY every day. I’ve got guys that could easily reduce these silly “zero tolerance” rules to a set of simple algos that would generate the answer– then can simply fire the idiot administrators, replace them with Capuchin monkeys trained to press a “yes” or “no” colored button–all for the price of a server and some monkey chow.

    And there was no expulsion in our district when the special needs kid (and I am hugely sympathetic to LD issues) slipped the aide for a few moments and tried to impale one of my daughters classmates with a pencil…

  14. On their facebook page, it looks like the kid is on their main page in the image background. White shirt, far left.

  15. Liberal logic: we think this child has serious behavioral issues and may prove to be a danger to himself and others as he matures. What? Oh, heavens no, we aren’t going to get him the help he needs or prevent him from carrying out those actions, we’re just going to expel him and make him attend a different school. Problem solved!

  16. I’d hate to know what would happen if you held up a empty paper towel roll or toilet paper roll at that school.
    “he’s got a bazooka”

  17. I goota wonder how many New Yorkers have the intelligence to come in out of the rain. This Bracamonte woman is a prime example of why this country is in the fix it is.

  18. Bracamonte behaves like a facist while pretending to be a cultured liberal. Is this school receiving federal funds. I hope so because a civil law suit for violation of civil rights can put that money in jeopardy. It is incredible how educated people who are supposed to be discerning and level headed behave with such hysteria about and lack of logic. Like Freud wrote once: fear of weapon is a sign of sexual immaturity (or close words to that effect). Making kids irrationally afraid of the reality around them like she is is not a good way to educate them.

  19. It’s not a gun problem, it’s not a mental health problem. It’s a passing-the-buck problem.

  20. I feel sorry, not just for this kid but for every kid that attends that school. They went in boys and girls. What will they be when they come out?

  21. Ya know, I work with a lot of these kids in a PUBLIC school and normally we pull them aside to discuss their behavior. If it becomes a distraction we treat it as such, not like a he is a maniac with a weapon. This is sick!

  22. The $120,000 tuition figure mentioned presumably is the cumulative amount which has been paid to the school for this student over the years. It does not mean that the parent paid $120,000 for a year’s tuition, or even that the parent ultimately paid anything in tuition. What? Believe it.

    You see, the Lang School’s annual tuition rate is actually $51,500. The effective tuition rate for a given parent could very well be much less per year, or even as low as zero, though. The school’s website reports that “Our parents successfully seek reimbursement of tuition from the Department of Education. We also accept Connors Case payments directly from the D.o.E. on behalf of families of limited economic means.” Huh? Yup, this fancy pants, do-gooder, Manhatten “private school” is essentially an insanely overpriced public school, just laundering the money through the DoE.

    So it may be that this parent hasn’t actually paid anything, but that YOU as the taxpayer have. Even if you don’t live in New York, you’re still paying. Money is fungible, after all, so what you pay to the federal government that the feds in turn grant to NY, still counts as you paying. What about those “Connors Case” situations their site mentions? What that means is that instead of a parent paying tuition, then seeking reimbursement from the government, the parent files a claim with the government to have them pay the tuition directly to the school. So the parent never pays and doesn’t even front the money.

    These “special needs” schools are scams popping up all over the country. They’re yet another angle of the Education Industrial Complex fleecing the taxpayers and imposing this sort of ridiculousness on kids at our overpriced expense.

  23. Make no mistake, this principal isn’t protecting this kid or other kids. She is protecting her school’s enrollment by booting a tough kid.

    I’ve seen parents at private schools put pressure on administration to remove kids that “don’t fit”.

    Dig deeper, this probably has little to do with the “gun”.

  24. The high school I graduated from has an armory with about 500 Springfield 1903s hanging out. Every Monday Wednesday and Friday we would pull them out and do drill with them. That was 2001-2005. Then the college i graduated from had an armory with m-16’s m-249’s and m-14’s. I wonder how brocamonte would react to our little high school “army” march around the quad?

  25. This is too much. First comment here. I am a US born, Italian resident. I own in the dozens of guns in a state where I have to register each individual bullet and firearms part. The idiocy of some individuals – here and there – has reached the bar for me. I will tell you this: whoever fears firearms irrationally hasn’t come to terms with their personal rage. Inner demons, you Americans call them. The violence that – it is proven – every human being has to experience while growing up. There’s nothing bad per se abut violence. It is a natural, human feeling we start experimenting – proved psychologically – since we’re a few days old (for example, when we can’t reach mommy’s breast, milk isn’t coming out etc.). The issue is mental – on both sides – and for an evolved culture (sic) like the western one to simply accept this and keep on with its evolution this has to be internalised, accepted, integrated as a daily awareness in our lives.

  26. My son attends the Lang School. My husband is also a NRA member. What is being presented is the sensationalized version of the story. Yes, the boy made a paper gun and pointed it at a student. But what is not being told is this is was last straw for this boy’s behavior. He has been verbally aggressive, taunting and tormenting fellow students, and often destroying the classroom. His tuition is NOT $100k+- the school is $50k (not uncommon for schools with special needs kids)- the other fifty thousand was to pay for his one-on-one para who was brought in to help manage this child’s behavior. Most likely the school told the parents that his behavior was beyond the school’s ability. Lang is for twice exceptional children (very bright with some learning/attention issues) NOT for aggressive children. Aggressive children need a more structured and restrictive environment. The Para was probably a stop gap to see IF this child could succeed with additional help. There is a big difference in kids playing “cops and robbers” or saying “I’m gonna kill you” without INTENT to actually do harm. In the case of this child, his repeated behavior doesn’t show this as a passing remark. Do I think he would actually DO something this horrible? Does it matter, if children in that classroom and the school felt threatened? AND let’s talk about the family calling the NY Post…not exactly the NYTimes. They obviously invited the media to their home to take photos of their kid and put him on the front page of a tabloid. I don’t personally know this family, but this is exploitative and irresponsible parenting in my opinion. I have a 2E child who loves going to the Lang School. He and all the other students deserve to feel safe, not bullied, and not fearful that one kid will act out beyond repair. My child, like all the other Lang kids, have special needs. We as a parent community are accepting of our children’s differences and make allowances for their often quirky behavior. Violence, however is not part of our school. Nor should it be at anyone’s school, regardless of their children’s social/emotional/learning differences. My family supports the second amendment and also supports the safety of our children. So don’t believe everything you read- this kid’s paper gun isn’t what got him kicked out of school – it was just icing on the cake.

  27. What a shame that this principal views his military veteran father–whose boots she should probably be kissing for defending *her* freedoms–as “a model for physically aggressive behavior in his immediate family.” Not only is she anti-2A, she is apparently also misandrist and anti-veteran.

  28. Most driver education books provide very clear and precise text and are well written. A book that provides a program that helps students manage the risks and responsibilities of driving might be a good alternative to a regular course.

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