MARCH 09, 05:50 EST

Mother Charged With Arming Children
Associated Press

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) — The mother of two elementary school boys faces charges for allegedly arming them with a hammer and screwdriver to fend off bullies.

Debora Smith, 27, was charged Tuesday with risk of injury to a minor after the principal at Wolfpit Elementary School found the tools in the boys' backpacks. The boys, ages 5 and 7, were suspended Wednesday.

``This is truly outrageous,'' Police Lt. John Cashin said. ``I've never heard of anything like this, a parent arming their children to go to school.''

Police said she called the school to inform officials of her plans and was urged by Principal Diane Wilson to refrain from arming the children.

``The mother said a couple of other kids were hitting and pushing her kids and she was fed up with it,'' Cashin said. ``It appears some of this stuff was going on for about a week.''

The boys were searched after they arrived at school. Schools Superintendent Victor Herbert said the boys' suspensions ``will be short, two or three days at the maximum.''

``We wanted something quick so that we can talk to their mother right away,'' he said.

Smith was released on a written promise to appear in court March 17.

Copyright 2000 Associated Press.