The Virginia Beach School Board seems to be running a scam both on the local media and the parents of three 13 year old boys who were suspended this week for using airsoft guns on their own private property. On Tuesday, the school board voted unanimously to suspend Khalid Caraballo and two other boys for shooting airsoft toy guns in Khalid’s yard. The boys had been turned in by a mom in the neighborhood who said she felt “uncomfortable” with the boys’ actions. She called 911, and police actually took the call seriously, even though everyone involved knew that the guns were just toys and not actual firearms.
The boys’ suspensions generated massive controversy for the Virginia Beach School Board. While local TV station WAVY was pursuing the story, Khalid’s parents signed a waiver releasing their son’s school disciplinary record, believing that only information regarding the airsoft incident was being released, and that the station would then be able to use that information in its reporting.
But in a Twitter post Tuesday evening , Virginia Beach School Board Chairman Daniel Edwards attached a letter defending the school’s disciplinary actions against the boys: “Yet somehow student safety has taken a back seat in the intense media coverage of this case. This is not an example of a public educator overreaching. This was not zero tolerance at all. This was a measured response to a threat to student safety.”
In the letter, Edwards also released private information about Khalid’s previous discipline issues at school. His parents told 10 On Your Side they are upset by that and said they signed a waiver for the school system to talk to WAVY about the airsoft incident only.
In the tweet, Edwards said, “We can share that this is not Khalid Caraballo’s first disciplinary infraction. He has been disciplined six times in less than 18 months for increasingly aggressive behavior including harassment, bullying and fighting that resulted in injuries.”
“I think he’s a bully to attack him,” said Solangel. “I was shocked that a grown man with authority over the school system would tweet about Khalid’s past … He’s 13-years-old … it had nothing to do with him playing in the front yard.”
Given how schools handle boys and boyhood nowadays, it’s fair to treat Khalid’s disciplinary record with some skepticism. Those prior incidents should have no bearing on this case, which has been proven to have occurred on private property, and involved a toy.
It’s apparent that the school board is trying to bully not only the kid, but also his parents and the local media for daring to report the story. The school board has already tried to hit back at WAVY.
What WAVY.com did not know on Monday was there was another related 911 call from September 12 – the day of the incident that got the boys in trouble. We learned of that second call Tuesday morning when Virginia Beach City Public Schools posted it on Facebook and claimed WAVY had not covered the call in Monday’s report.
Had WAVY known that call existed, it would certainly have been included in Monday’s report because it further proves Khalid was not one of the children running on the street.
“I never left the property … I never shot at anyone who was not on the property involved in the airsoft war … when the bus came, I put up the gun, grabbed my book bag, went to the bus stop, and went to school,” Khalid told WAVY.com.
This story is about far more than public school hysteria against anything that even resembles a gun in any way. From the outset it was also about private property rights, parental rights, and where schools do and do not have authority to discipline our children. Schools have not only the right but the obligation to keep our kids safe when they are on school grounds and attending school functions off-campus, to the extent that it is possible to do so. Bullying should not be tolerated, but victims of bullying should be allowed to defend themselves. Toys are toys. If school administrators lack the knowledge to know a toy from a firearm, they have no business educating anyone. Frankly, they need an education themselves. Schools do not have the right to discipline our kids for legal behavior that occurs on our private property. If school administrators assume that they do have such rights, they are badly mistaken and parents need to introduce them to reality.