Calvert County, Md., is back in the news – this time for suspending a sixth-grader who formed a gun shape with his hand on the bus ride to school. This isn’t the first over-the-top suspension from the school district notorious for punishing children for incidents involving imaginary guns.
Carin Read, mother of the Mill Creek Middle School student, appealed the suspension late last week, after her request to remove the infraction from her son’s school record was denied, according to the Washington Post.
The student received a one-day in-school suspension for “pretending to shoot another student on the bus,” which Read did not want on his permanent record, the Post reported.
“There was no threat,” Read told the Post, describing her son as an honor student who has never been in trouble. “He’s been punished enough.”
A Calvert Schools spokeswoman would not comment, citing confidentiality rules regarding students.
The school district made news earlier this year when a kindergartner brought a “cowboy-style cap gun” on the bus to show his friend, resulting in a two-hour interrogation of the child and a 10-day suspension for “possession of a look-alike gun.”
In another incident, an 11-year-old boy received a 10-day suspension for talking about guns on the bus ride home, saying “I wish I had a gun to protect everyone” in a conversation following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
Last month, School Board members requested a review of the district’s weapons policies and an explanation as to why a zero-tolerance policy was the practice when that was not the board’s position. Board members stressed that factors such as intent and mental capacity, as well as parental notification as soon as allegations are made, must be a part of the decision-making process.
A revised policy proposal, which would provide more flexibility with “look-alike weapons,” was presented by staff. The public has 30 days to weigh in, with the School Board scheduled to review the final draft on Oct. 10, according to the Post.