Virtual learning might be the biggest obstacle for parents during this pandemic. And for one family in Louisiana, things got even more difficult as their child was suspended for having a BB gun in his room.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced Friday that his office would be investigating the case of 9-year-old Ka Mauri Harrison who was kicked out of school for having a toy gun in his room. Landry says that he is “alarmed” by the school’s reaction to Harrison, calling the suspension an “overreach.”
“I am alarmed by what appears to not only be multiple violations of both the State and Federal Constitutions, but also blatant government overreach by the school system,” Landry said.
The family’s attorney, Chelsea Cusimano told CNN that Harrison was in class on Sept. 11 when one of his siblings that shares the room tripped on the toy which was given to him as a gift. Harrison reached down to pick up the BB gun and was out of the view of his computer camera for a brief moment. When he returned, he placed the gun on the chair next to him and continued his school work.
This all led to a hearing where officers determined that the gun was fake. Still, school officials recommended that Harrison be expelled for “possession of a starter gun, stun gun and/or facsimile” while on school grounds. The school changed the expulsion recommendation to school suspension for six days and social work assessment. Yet, Landry believed that this is an overreaction because the virtual school setting means that the toy gun posed no harm to any of Harrison’s classmates.
“For anyone to conclude that a student’s home is now school property because of connectivity through video conferencing is absurd,” Landry said.”It is ludicrous for this All-American kid to be punished for taking responsible actions just as it is for his parents to be accused of neglect.”
“[Jefferson Parish Schools] took an on-campus weapons policy and unilaterally determined that they were going to apply it to one of their students in a manner as if he was on campus and not consider any measures such as the privacy of his own home,” Cusimano added.
As a result, Cusimano and Landry are looking to get the accusations of neglect reversed. Jefferson Parrish Schools did not go into details regarding the incident, but it did say that the teachers have the discretion to make “reasonable disciplinary and corrective” decisions.