MODESTO, CA (KTXL/CNN) - A 5-year-old in California was suspended after refusing to take his backpack off in class and telling a teacher there was a bomb inside it.
Jackson Riley was suspended for one day in August from Great Valley Academy, a charter school in Modesto, CA. The kindergartener told one of his teachers there was a bomb in his backpack, which would explode if he took it off.
“So, they look in his backpack, and my son’s 5 years old; obviously there’s no bomb in my kid’s backpack. They called me at work and said, ‘There’s been an incident at the school.’ They told me everything that my son said, and they said, ‘You need to come pick your son up, and this is going to be a one-day suspension,’” Jackson’s father said.
Jackson’s parents initially received a letter from the school explaining the suspension through a code applied to students in 4th through 12th grades. The letter said the student “intentionally engaged in harassment, threats or intimidation.”
The family complained, claiming the suspension was extreme and one Jackson didn’t deserve. They also pointed out that the code didn’t apply in this case.
The school then sent a second letter, which changed the initial code and stated Jackson “made terroristic threats towards school officials.”
“He was sent home, and he understands you can’t say ‘bomb’ at school. But he really doesn’t understand what the threat is,” Jackson’s mother said.
Jackson’s parents say their son was just playing around and never threatened anyone.
“He said he couldn’t take his backpack off because it would explode, meaning he doesn’t want anybody to get hurt, so I mean, granted, it’s all in the world of pretend-play, and we’re talking about an imaginary bomb. But where was the threat? We still haven’t really received a clear answer to that,” Jackson’s mother said.
The school said in a statement they could not discuss the specific case but that they take “student safety and discipline very seriously.”
Jackson’s parents say they want the suspension removed from his permanent record.
“He’s 5. He has an imagination. We just want what’s right is right, and what’s right in this instance is for our child to not have a permanent mark on his record because of this,” Jackson’s father said.
Copyright 2017 KTXL, Ian Riley via CNN. All rights reserved.
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