A 7th-grade student was suspended for five days after he reportedly flashed a toy gun on camera during a virtual classroom session. It is unclear what gestures, if any, that the boy made.
From the Hill:
According to local station KDVR, the student, Isaiah, was handed a five-day suspension recently after a teacher saw him holding a toy gun during a virtual class late last month.
After spotting the toy gun, which was black and green with an orange tip and had the words “Zombie Hunter” written on the side, the teacher reportedly got in touch with the school’s principal about the matter.
According to the report, the Grand Mountain Middle School also reportedly called the police to investigate the welfare of the 12-year-old over the incident.
The boy’s parents told KDVR that they were not notified by the school regarding the incident, but learned about it when law enforcement showed up to their residence.
Curtis Elliot, the boy’s father, described the incident as “really frightening and upsetting for me as a parent, especially as the parent of an African American young man.”
He went on to describe the moment police officers showed up at their door: “He was in tears when the cops came. He was just in tears. He was scared. We all were scared. I literally was scared for his life.”
Isaiah’s mother, Dani Elliott, similarly said she believed the school administrators went too far over the matter and called their response “insane.”
“For them to go as extreme as suspending him for five days, sending the police out, having the police threaten to press charges against him because they want to compare the virtual environment to the actual in-school environment is insane,” she said.
Fire every administrator involved in this. https://t.co/4kFA8ls9CL
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 8, 2020
The incident sparked an uproar online, as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused several schools to resort to virtual teaching programs.
The school responded to the virality of the incident by saying they would not disclose the boy’s personal information, “which includes disciplinary action.”
“We follow all school board policies whether we are in-person learning or distance learning. We take the safety of all our students and staff very seriously. Safety is always our number one priority,” the school said via the Hill.
“We never have or ever will condone any form of racism or discrimination,” they added, pushing back on social media claims and comments that they acted in a racially discriminatory manner.
“Safety will always be number one for our students and staff. We follow board policies and safety protocols consistently, whether we are in-person or distance learning. We utilize our School Resource Officers, who are trusted and trained professionals who work in our schools with our children, to ensure safety,” it continued per the report.
“The platforms we use for distance learning have the feature to record classes for educational purposes. During our first week of school, we were still becoming familiar with the platform. It is not our current practice to record classes at this time. Parents will be notified if that changes. We will continue to support all families in our school to make sure they feel safe, respected, and educated,” the statement concluded.