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School Calls The Cops On Black 7th-Grader Who Played With A Toy Gun During Virtual Class

School Calls The Cops On Black 7th-Grader Who Played With A Toy Gun During Virtual Class

Isaiah now has  a record with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and a mark on his school disciplinary paperwork saying he brought a “facsimile of a firearm to school."

Image Source: Getty Images/Tushar Sontakke / EyeEm

A school in Colorado called the cops on a 12-year-old boy for playing with a toy gun during a virtual art class. He was also suspended for five days, reports The Washington Post. Mom Dani Elliott says she was at work when she got the alarming call from her son's vice-principal. Elliott says she was terrified, especially because her son is Black. “I never thought: ‘You can’t play with a Nerf gun in your own home because somebody may perceive it as a threat and call the police on you,’” Elliott said. Her son Isaiah now has  a record with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and a mark on his school disciplinary paperwork saying he brought a “facsimile of a firearm to school." The gun was a toy with 'Zombie Hunter' written on the side.



 

Given that there's a rise in the number of crimes against Black people, Dani Elliott lashed out at the school for acting irresponsibly. “With the cultural events going on right now, especially for young African Americans, you calling the police and telling them that he could have a gun, you put his life in jeopardy,” she said. In a now-deleted post on Facebook, Grand Mountain School posted that they could not delve into the details of what happened on August 27th. “We never have or ever will condone any form of racism or discrimination,” the statement said.  “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.”



 

Elliott revealed that Isaiah’s art teacher emailed her, saying that the vice principal had been notified since her son who has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, was distracted and playing with a gun, which she believed was fake. Elliott responded by saying that it was fake and that she would talk to her son about keeping it away during class. But, by then, the vice principal had called a school resource officer to review a recording of the class. The officer viewed footage of Isaiah and another boy pointing the toy gun at the computer screen, according to a police report, obtained by KOAA. The other boy with the gun was a classmate who was studying at Elliott’s house at the time and deputies visited his house as well.



 

Elliott's husband Curtis let the officers in when they came home and they explained to Isaiah that if he got a toy gun to school, they could file criminal charges against him. However, when Curtis reviewed the footage, he noticed that his son only moved the green toy gun from one side to the other — not waving it as the teacher alleged. Isaiah was traumatized by the experience, she said. “He was in tears when the police came,” Elliott said. “He was very scared. He said: ‘Mommy, I had butterflies in my stomach. I was scared and thought I was going to jail.’” Elliott and Curtis spoke to the school administrators, but they wouldn't change their mind on the decision made about Isiah's suspension.



 

“I said: ‘Black children cannot have that sort of thing on their record. You are reducing his chances at success,’” Elliott said she told school administrators. She also questioned why the school had notified the officials before getting in touch with the student's parents. Elliott said that the vice principal said their son’s safety was the school’s top priority. Elliott also criticized the school for recording the students in class as she revealed the school didn’t get permission from parents. In a statement, Grand Mountain School acknowledged that the digital platform used for virtual teaching by the school has a recording function.



 

“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,” the statement said. Elliot and her son have decided to pull their son out of this school. They are now placing him on a waitlist for a charter school. She said she hopes his next school better understands and works with students with ADHD. “I wish the world could see my son through the way I see him. He’s funny, compassionate, caring, goofy, and yeah, he gets distracted easily, but he’s a kid,” Elliott said. “I hate that the world doesn’t see him that way. It’s not fair.”



 

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