Drawing a picture of a cartoon-like bomb on a piece of notebook paper and showing it to other kids was reportedly enough to get a special needs student in South Carolina suspended.
Amy Parham said her son Rhett was suspended from Hillcrest Middle School, even though she says administrators conceded the drawing was non-violent in nature and posed no threat to students.
“They actually reiterated to me they knew he was non-violent,” Parham told WHNS-TV. “They knew he was not actually having a bomb, creating or making a bomb.”
“But that they could not go with out making an example of him and take some type of action because they were worried about their perception,” she continued. “Perception is actually the word he used. Perception is reality, and parents might think you have a bomb or [might be] violent.”
According to Parham, Rhett, who is autistic, made the drawing over the weekend because he is a fan of the video game “Bomber Man.” When he took it to school he showed it to some of his peers, he was reported to the school administration and eventually suspended, she said.
Watch a local news clip, courtesy of WHNS-TV:
Greenville County Schools spokesman Oby Lyles declined to comment to the station, saying the district “cannot comment about an individual student.”
“In global terms, a special education student is suspended pending a manifestation hearing which determines if the behavior is due to the student’s disability,” Lyles said.
The South Carolina Department of Education also declined to comment.
“We have not heard directly from this parent and she has not made a written complaint with the agency,” the department said in a statement to WHNS. “At this time, since the matter relates to student discipline, it is left up to the local school district to investigate the issue through a manifestation hearing and determine if the student’s behavior is due to his disability.”
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter