Now Kids Talking About Guns Will Get Them Suspended
I didn't think it could get any worse after the pop tart gun incident.
The father of a middle schooler in Calvert County, Md. says his 11-year-old son was suspended for 10 days for merely talking about guns on the bus ride home.
Bruce Henkelman of Huntingtown says his son, a sixth grader at Northern Middle School in Owings, was talking with friends about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre when the bus driver hauled him back to school to be questioned by the principal, Darrel Prioleau.
"The principal told me that with what happened at Sandy Hook if you say the word 'gun' in my school you are going to get suspended for 10 days," Henkelman said in an interview with WMAL.com.
So what did the boy say? According to his father, he neither threatened nor bullied anyone.
"He said, I wish I had a gun to protect everyone. He wanted to defeat the bad guys. That's the context of what he said," Henkelman said. "He wanted to be the hero."
The boy was questioned by the principal and a sheriff's deputy, who also wanted to search the family home without a warrant, Henkelman said. "He started asking me questions about if I have firearms, and [the deputy said] he's going to have to search my house. Search my house? I just wanted to know what happened."
No search was performed, and the deputy left Henkelman's home after the father answered questions in a four-page questionnaire issued by the Sheriff's Office.
Principal Darrel Prioleau did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment. Robin Welsh, the deputy superintendent of Calvert County Schools, said federal privacy rules prohibited her from commenting on a specific case, but she said students are not suspended without cause.
"There has to be some violation within the code of conduct that would trigger some type of consequence or intervention," said Welsh, who said the county school system does not have a zero tolerance policy.
Based on information about Henkelman's case provided by WMAL.com, the ACLU of Maryland said the suspension, later reduced to one day, was a poor choice by school administrators.
We can all appreciate the heightened sensitivity to the possibility of tragedy following incidents like Sandy Hook. But this is nuts.
The family of the boy got a twofer; a clear violation of the boy's free speech rights and a threatened search without a warrant. What's next, a trip to Gitmo?
When are citizens going to start taking action against school authorities who abuse their position to bully little kids? If you live in Owings, Maryland, you might consider attending the next meeting of the school board and ask them what they're drinking or smoking that makes them act like insane hysterics when it comes to guns.