2020-09-26 10:32:43 UTC
A 9-year-old Louisiana student was suspended and now has a weapons violation in his school record after a teacher said a gun was seen in his bedroom during a virtual class.
What happened: Fourth-grader Ka Mauri Harrison was taking a rollover test in his bedroom on September 11 after being off school sick the day before, Chelsea Cusimano, the attorney representing the Harrison family, told CNN Friday.
While Harrison was taking the test, Ka Mauri's brother -- who he shares a room with -- stepped or tripped on a BB gun that Ka Mauri had received as a gift. Ka Mauri picked up the gun and was out of sight from the screen for a moment before placing the BB gun next to him on his chair, Cusimano said.
Ka Mauri -- who had muted the virtual class he was on so he could concentrate on his test -- continued working before noticing his teacher was trying to get his attention. According to Cusimano, the teacher was screaming and Ka Mari got kicked off the virtual classroom.
After the incident: A behavior interventionist told Ka Mauri's family that, according to the teacher, Ka Mauri was out of sight for a few second sand came back with what looked like a rifle which he propped against his chair, according to Cusimano. The family was told Ka Mauri wouldn't be able to go back to school.
At a hearing on September 22, it was determined Ka Mauri was guilty of displaying a facsimile weapon while receiving virtual education. Cusimano said a hearing officer determined it was a BB gun.
The school amended the recommendation for expulsion to school suspension for six days and social work assessment. Ka Mauri returned to school on Thursday, September 24.
The reaction: Cusimano told CNN the school parish "took an on-campus weapons policy and unilaterally determined that they were going to apply it to one of their students in a manner as if he was on campus and not consider any measures such as the privacy of his own home."
Cusimano argues that schools should consider the things that take place in a private home when they enact policies in a virtual learning environment.
"Now he's got a federal gun possession mark on his educational record for the rest of his career until he goes to college," she said.
Cusimano and the Harrison family want the charge to be cleared from Ka Mauri's record. The parish's legal counsel argued Ka Mauri doesn't have the right to an appeal because it was only a suspension, according to Cusimano.
In a statement to CNN, the school parish told CNN: "We do not comment on individual student records. Regarding discipline, it is our policy that teachers and administrators may employ reasonable disciplinary and corrective measures to maintain order."
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced Friday his office is investigating the incident, saying it appears to be a "blatant government overreach by the school system."