12-year-old autistic boy arrested for playing with imaginary rifle at school. It only gets worse.

12-year-old autistic boy arrested for playing with imaginary rifle at school. It only gets worse.
An autistic 12-year-old was arrested for pretending to play with an imaginary gun while at school. A school district officer handcuffed the boy as a result. (Image source: WTTE-TV video screenshot)

Police officers arrested David Sims, a 12-year-old autistic boy from Texas, after he reportedly pretended to play with an imaginary rifle at school.

Adding insult to injury, officers also reportedly handcuffed the young boy and dragged him out of the school — through the front entrance — in front of his peers.

What are the details?

An art teacher at Conroe ISD became alarmed and felt “threatened” when David began playing with an imaginary rifle while at school.

School officials contacted police, and a school district officer handcuffed young David as a result.

Amy Sims, David’s mother, told WTTE-TV, “They just said, ‘We don’t tolerate that. We take it as a threat.’ A threat? He didn’t threaten anyone. He didn’t do anything but play.”

Amy said that the school didn’t even notify her that an incident had occurred until David had been taken into police custody.

“Being put in handcuffs, not knowing what he did wrong, I could have had a talk with him and told him, ‘Look, I know you like to play guns, but you can’t do it in school,'” Sims told WTTE.

Police reportedly took David to the local juvenile hall, where he remained for over two hours.

Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright told WTTE that David had reportedly “made a verbal threat before brandishing the imaginary rifle, and this has allegedly happened in class before.”

According to WTTE, David will likely not face charges as a result of his age and his disability. He will, however, be unable to return to the school and will attend a disciplinary school for the remainder of the year instead.

Amy now feels that the school is discriminating against her son because of his autism.

“Because he’s disabled,” she explained, “they automatically think he’s got something mental, so he might go shoot up a school.”

Has the school responded?

In a statement to KPRC-TV, Conroe ISD said:

While we are unable to comment specifically on student discipline due to privacy laws, any actions or statements that are threatening in nature are taken seriously. Campus administrators work with Conroe ISD Police to investigate and address all matters in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct and the laws of the State of Texas. Actions or statements containing specific elements are responded to in a manner that will initiate access to the appropriate support resources, and situations involving students with special needs are responded to with consideration for each unique need. Conroe ISD administrators along with the Conroe ISD Police Department do everything possible to make Conroe ISD a safe place for all of our employees and students.

Have there been instances like this before?

So, so many.

A 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy was suspended from school for making an imaginary bow out of his pencil, pulling back an imaginary string and shooting an imaginary arrow in 2013.

In 2013, a 7-year-old Colorado boy was suspended from school after playing “Rescue the World” during recess because he threw a pretend grenade.

Another school in 2013 suspended a 7-year-old boy for “making gun noises” with a pencil. He was just pretending to be a Marine, like his dad.

An 8-year-old Florida boy was suspended from school after playing a game of “Cops & Robbers” with a friend in 2013. His “crime?” Making a gun shape with fingers. Which seems kind of necessary if you’re going to play “Cops & Robbers.”

A 7-year-old boy was suspended after accidentally forming a school breakfast pastry into a gun shape in 2013.

A 10-year-old Massachusetts boy was suspended for two days after making laser sounds at one of his peers in 2014.

In 2017, a 5-year-old North Carolina girl was suspended for playing with a stick that looked like a gun.

In March, a 13-year-old student faced a two-day suspension after simply sketching a gun. To be fair, he also sketched a terrifying Ninja Turtle, a devious magician, and an imposing castle.

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