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Hoke County leaders stand by decision to suspend 5-year-old girl

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Hoke County School leaders are standing by their decision to suspend 5-year-old Caitlin Miller (WTVD)

Leaders with Hoke County Schools are standing by a policy that led to the suspension of a 5-year-old girl for communicating threats.

It all started last week when Caitlin Miller was suspended from McLauchlin Elementary School after officials said she pointed a stick that looked like at gun at one of her classmates.

Caitlin returned to school Tuesday after her one-day suspension.

After the story made national headlines, Hoke County leaders called an emergency meeting to discuss the controversy and review the district's policies.

Caitlin explained that she and her two friends were using their imaginations, playing "King and Queen."

Hoke County Schools said Caitlin posed a threat to other students when she made a shooting motion, thus violating policy 4331.

A parent came forward after the playground incident and detailed the difficulty of explaining gun violence to her young, African-American son. School officials said the issue wasn't necessarily the "gun," but when Caitlin reportedly told her teacher that she was going to "kill" that student.

Thursday, Hoke County Schools stood by that decision to suspend Caitlin.

"If a child is suspended in this school district under these policies, there's been procedural due process, there's been documentation, and there's been substantial evidence shown in this policy violation," said Nick Sojka, Hoke County Schools' attorney.

Caitlin's mother maintains that her child never meant to hurt anyone and that intent should have been taken into account when it came to her suspension.

The Miller family has also been in contact with legal counsel.

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