It started off as your garden-variety, benign school assignment: Go outside, look at the clouds, and draw what you see.
But after second-grader Kody Smith turned in his artwork, his teacher at JA Talbott Elementary School in Widefield, Colorado saw nothing but trouble.
Because what Smith perceived in those clouds was a gun — so the 8-year-old drew one.
And for that his teacher filed a “behavioral report,” according to KKTV-TV in Colorado Springs.
The report defines Smith’s “Level 2 or 3 Behaviors” as “disruptive to the entire learning community.” Specifically they “constitute an office referral. These behaviors include repeated defiance or disruption of the learning environment, physical conflict with the intent to harm, major destruction of property, sexual harassment, repeated bullying or safety violations that could result in bodily harm to self or others,” the behavioral report states.
In addition, the handwritten note on Smith’s behavioral report states that he drew the gun “when he knew he was not supposed to.” There appears to be two versions of the report with two different handwritten notes:
TheBlaze on Friday contacted the Widefield School District 3 for more information, specifically to inquire if there is a district policy that prohibits drawing firearms, and if not, can a teacher prohibit that. The call wasn’t immediately returned. (See the update below.)
In the meantime, Smith’s parents aren’t pleased with the behavioral report.
His mother, Angel Rivers, argued to KKTV that her son “was doing exactly what he was told to do for the assignment.”
“It hurts,” Kody’s father, Jeff Smith, added to KKTV. “It hurts that he was so scared for being penalized for his imagination.”
While Smith’s parents were concerned that the incident would find its way on their son’s permanent school record, the district told KKTV that it won’t.
The district’s statement to KKTV: “Our primary responsibility as a school district is to ensure safety of all staff, students and community. We exercised an age-appropriate reaction to an incident. The student’s education was never disrupted nor is this incident on the student’s permanent record. Our response was in line with routine procedures focused on school safety.”
UPDATE, 11:58 a.m.: TheBlaze on Friday spoke with Samantha Briggs, director of communications for the school district, who said there is no district policy prohibiting drawing firearms. However, she said Smith’s class was told before the assignment to make sure their drawings are “school appropriate.” Smith gave the drawing to his teacher, Briggs said, and offered, “I can’t draw this, can I?” The teacher said no, indicated that she would take the drawing “for now,” and gave Smith a new piece of paper, Briggs said.
When asked how Smith and the teacher both knew a gun drawing was not “school appropriate” if no directive or policy related to it exists, Briggs said she didn’t know the answer to that. However, Briggs said an incident the previous day, which the district isn’t allowed to discuss, related to the action that was taken after Smith turned in his gun drawing. (Note: The previous day’s incident did not involve Smith as reported earlier.)
Featured image: KKTV-TV
For more on the education system in America, be sure to read Glenn Beck’s new book, “Conform.”