Louisiana’s attorney general has launched an investigation after a young Black child was suspended for having a BB gun in his bedroom while attending school virtually.
CBS News reports that Attorney General Jeff Landry announced the investigation in a statement released on Friday. In his statement, Landry called the incident “egregious” and said he is “alarmed by what appears to not only be multiple violations of both the State and Federal Constitutions, but also blatant government overreach by the school system.”
“I have begun investigating this matter and plan to take action in defense of this young man and his family and all families who could suffer the same invasion of their homes and constitutional rights,” Landry added.
The announcement came after Ka Mauri Harrison’s return to Woodmere Elementary on Thursday following a six-day suspension over a BB gun that could only be seen for a “split second,” according to Nyron Harrison, the child’s father. The nine-year-old was taking a test online when his brother walked into the room carrying the BB gun. The gun fell, so the boy picked it up and placed it near his seat where, apparently, his fellow classmates could see it.
According to WWL-TV, Ka Mauri’s teacher filed a behavior report with the school, saying he “presented a weapon that appeared to be a rifle/shotgun during his Google Meets classroom session,” and violated the school’s policies on weapons and internet usage. The report recommended Ka Mauri be expelled, per school policy.
A lawyer for the family said that while school officials agreed Ka Mauri didn’t actually point the gun at his computer, they maintained that on-campus policies still apply during distance learning.
“They just went ahead and went along with it and blew it out of proportion,” Nyron Harrison told WWL-TV. Harrison is understandably concerned about how having a suspension on his record could affect his son in the future. “This outcome is going to follow him through the rest of his life, and that’s what’s not allowing me to accept their decision,” he said.
“For anyone to conclude that a student’s home is now school property because of connectivity through video conferencing is absurd,” Landry said of the school’s decision. “My office and I will take a deep dive into all the irreparable harm caused by this egregious incident and take appropriate actions.”
Jefferson Parish Public School System told WWL-TV that it doesn’t comment on the records of individual students, saying only that it allows teachers and administrators to use “reasonable discipline to keep order.”
I personally find that to be inaccurate seeing as the discipline applied here was completely unreasonable. It’s not as if the teacher couldn’t simply send a note to Ka Mauri and his family telling them to be mindful of the BB gun. That would’ve been reasonable. Recommending a kid be expelled over an accident in a less than ideal learning environment? Come on, now.
Chelsea Berner Cusimano, attorney for the Harrison family, said the incident was “grossly mishandled,” and wants the school to remove the suspension from Ka Mauri’s personal record as the incident happened at home.
Should they refuse, she said a lawsuit was not out of the question.