The family of a boy suspended from school for having an unloaded BB gun in the background of his at-home video feed called the situation an “injustice.”
Nine-year-old Ka Mauri Harrison was taking a test virtually when he saw his teacher rush to get his attention after she spotted the BB gun in his room, a New Orleans NBC affiliateWDSU reported.
Ka Mauri’s parents chose to start the school year off remotely, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The incident resulted in the fourth grader being expelled from his school. However, his punishment was reduced to a suspension this week.
Harrison’s family called the punishment a mistake, adding that it threatens their son’s academic future.
“This is an injustice. It’s a systemic failure,” Chelsea Cusimano, the family’s attorney, told The Washington Post on Friday. “They’re applying on-campus rules to these children, even though they’re learning virtually in their own homes.”
The boy’s father, Nyron Harrison said, “They are treating it as if he brought a weapon to school,” according to The New Orleans Advocate. “They told me he would be facing expulsion.”
Jefferson Parish Schools, a Louisiana school district that includes Ka Mauri’s school Woodmere Elementary, told The Hill that it does not comment on individual student records.
“Regarding discipline, it is our policy that teachers and administrators may employ reasonable disciplinary and corrective measures to maintain order,” the district added.
Cusimano said the family is still fighting the case as Ka Mauri returned to class Thursday. The family argues the district violated their privacy and due process was not given to the situation.
She said the family is also worried since the disciplinary record relates to a weapon, their son might not be accepted into a good high school.
“They need to take 20 minutes to think about children, who are already facing an uncertain future in the middle of pandemic,” the attorney told The Washington Post. “This family chose to do virtual learning. What they didn’t choose is to be opened up to Jefferson Parish to look into their home and judge what happens there, such as allowing a kid to have a BB gun.”