A school in Jefferson City, Alabama suspended a first-grade student for a game of “Cops and Robbers” where he pretended his fingers were a gun during recess, according to a copy of the notice of suspension reviewed by the Daily Caller.
The six-year-old boy’s father, Jarrod Belcher, pushed back on the Class III suspension, the most serious in the school system. The suspension prohibited the student from returning to the school grounds until a conference is held. The suspension is reportedly the same disciplinary action used for arson, assault, selling drugs and bomb threats.
“I sat down and I asked her can you tell me what happened? And she proceeds to tell me that my son and another boy they were playing with each other and using their index fingers as a gun,” Belcher said of his meeting with a teacher, according to WBRC.
The school dropped the suspension from a Class III to a Class II suspension after discussing the matter with the boy’s father, and the student has been permitted to go back to class. (RELATED: Florida 13-Year-Old Arrested For Allegedly Bringing Handgun With Missing Serial Number To School)
“I asked her, I said ‘Well did he threaten any one?’ ‘No.’ ‘Was there violence?’ ‘No.’ ‘Was there any indication of a current or future threat?’ ‘No.’ I said ‘well this kind of seems benign to me, it sounds like two students playing,’ and she said it was but in this climate, this day and age, we have to take all incidents very seriously,” Belcher said.
Belcher said his son scared another student who didn’t realize he was playing.
Gun Owners of America, along with the gun rights group BamaCarry, has sent a letter to the school demanding the entire disciplinary action be rescinded and the policy that led to the suspension be amended. The letter, provided to the Daily Caller Friday, calls the downgrading of the charge to a Class II infraction, “too little too late.”
The parent of a six-year-old is trying to get justice for their child after he was suspended from school for playing with another student by pointing their fingers like a gun. https://t.co/9eqp53iNx7
— WBRC FOX6 News (@WBRCnews) September 8, 2023
“In other words, the school charged a six year old boy with an infraction equivalent to a felony crime. The irony is not lost on J.B.’s [the student’s] parents that ‘[i]ntentionally hitting, pushing, kicking, or otherwise being physically aggressive with another student’ is only a Class II Infraction.’ In other words, J.B. would be subject to a lesser maximum penalty had he punched the other student in the face!” the letter reads.
“They labeled my six-year-old as a potentially violent and dangerous student because he was being a little boy and playing cops and robbers with another student (who was also suspended) and using his fingers like a gun,” the boy’s father said in a statement provided to the Caller.
Erich Pratt, GOA’s Senior Vice President, said the incident was indicative of an “anti-gun mindset” in even Republican states.
“This was a gross mishandling of a situation where children were simply being children. I imagine most men, young and old, hearing about this can recall having played in a similar fashion in their own youth. We will continue to demand action until a full apology is made and all disciplinary records tied to this incident are permanently destroyed.”
Jefferson County School System did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.