A 12-year-old boy has been suspended for momentarily picking up a toy gun while attending his school’s virtual learning class.
Yes, you read that right. A toy gun. In his own home. While attending a class that’s not even being held in a school building.
According to the seventh-grader’s understandably upset parents, Isaiah Elliot, who lives just south of Colorado Springs and happens to be black, picked up the toy – a neon green and black gun with an orange tip and the words “Zombie Hunter” printed on the side – and moved it from one side of his lap to the other, not realizing his teacher and fellow classmates could see. The seconds-long incident prompted the teacher to call the principal, who suspended the boy and called the EL Paso police to perform a welfare check on the child without even calling his parents first.
The boy’s mother, Dani Elliot, said a simple phone call would have solved the whole problem, but that the school decided to assume the worst and take matters into their own hands, resulting in deputies showing up to their home and telling her son that he could be slapped with criminal charges if he ever does something like this again.
“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.
“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,” said Curtis Elliot, the boy’s dad, saying that he was afraid that the school had told police that a young black boy had a gun.
If that’s not bad enough, it turns out the school has a copy of the entire incident, which they’ve declined to provide citing privacy reasons –which is rich, considering the fact that they were apparently recording the class without parental knowledge or permission.
“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,” the school claimed in a post on Facebook. “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.”