The Virginia Beach seventh graders who were suspended for playing with an airsoft toy gun on their own private property have now been expelled for an entire school year.
The decision was made unanimously by a disciplinary committee consisting of three members of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools board, according to local news.
Khalid Caraballo and Aidan Clark are banned from Larkspur Middle School until at least January, when a new hearing will be convened to determine whether the boys can come back to school early.
Local news reported that three members of the disciplinary committee were Dottie Holtz, Bobby Melatti and Carolyn Weems. The Daily Caller reached out to all three, but none offered to comment.
School district spokesperson Lauren Wicks said she could not officially identify the three committee members who made the decision. As such, the district declined to answer specific questions, instead releasing a statement to The Daily Caller.
“This is not an example of a public educator overreaching,” said the statement. “This was not zero tolerance at all. This was a measured response to a threat to student safety.”
The statement claims that administrators made the absolutely correct decision, while noting that Caraballo had been in trouble several times before.
“We hope that people will look beyond sensational media reports and recognize that fact,” said the statement.
Caraballo and Clark were suspended after playing with an airsoft gun on the front lawn of Caraballo’s family home. A neighbor who recognized that the gun was not real called the police anyway, saying it made her feel “uncomfortable.” The police did not take any action against the boys, but the school moved forward with suspensions.
The Caraballo home is 70 yards from a school bus stop, and administrators felt the airsoft gun imperiled students near a school zone. Sources disagree over how close the boys were to the bus stop at the time of the incident.