Officials at a New Jersey elementary school called the police because a third grader said something deemed potentially racist concerning the brownies served during an end-of-the-year class celebration.
The unidentified third-grade boy blurted out his comment about the brownies. A second student then hollered that the boy’s statement was “racist.”
The next thing that happened is that officials at Tatem Elementary called the cops on the 9-year-old boy.
Then, an officer from the Collingswood Police Department showed up at the school in full uniform — a gun, a badge, the whole nine yards — and began interrogating the little boy over his comment.
The boy’s mother, Stacy dos Santos, is not happy about the experience her son suffered.
“He said they were talking about brownies,” dos Santos told the Inquirer. “Who exactly did he offend?”
“He was intimidated, obviously,” dos Santos, a Collingswood High School alumna, also said. “There was a police officer with a gun in the holster talking to my son, saying, ‘Tell me what you said.’ He didn’t have anybody on his side.”
Local parents say they are outraged over the incident itself, and — more broadly — because the incident is part of a ridiculous pattern of school officials calling police over silly things young children do.
“Some of it is just typical little-kid behavior,” peeved parent — and grade school teacher — Megan Irwin, told the Inquirer. “Never in my years of teaching have I ever felt uncomfortable handling a situation or felt like I didn’t know how to handle a situation.”
The local school district superintendent, Scott Oswald, said the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office has ordered him to instruct teachers to call the police about incidents such as, say, a 9-year-old boy saying something possibly racist about brownies in class.
Collingswood police chief Kevin Carey told the Inquirer that prosecutors recently told school officials to call police abut “just about every incident” including something “as minor as a simple name-calling incident that the school would typically handle internally.”
School officials are also supposed to contact New Jersey’s child protection bureaucracy. (RELATED: New Jersey Judge Holds That Criticizing A Vegetarian Kid Is HARASSMENT Now)
Parents have taken to social media to gripe to high heaven about the rapidly escalating police involvement at local schools over kids basically being kids.
Collingswood mayor Jim Maley suggested that school officials and the town police chief misunderstood the directive from local prosecutors, according to the Inquirer.
Oswald, the superintendent, said Maley is wrong.
“It was a pretty clear directive that we questioned vehemently,” Oswald told the newspaper.
It remains unclear what the third-grade boy actually said about the brownies.
Police said they reported the boy’s comment to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. (RELATED: Under Strict New Jersey Bullying Law, Kid Who Called Classmate ‘Horse’ And ‘Fat Ass’ Goes To Court)
Dos Santos, the boy’s mother, described her son’s reaction as “traumatized.” She said she’d like to enroll her son in a different school in the fall.
The boy did not return to school the next day after the incident — the last day of his third-grade year.