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Family of fourth-grader suspended for visible BB gun during virtual class sues school officials
Image source: WDSU-TV video screenshot

Family of fourth-grader suspended for visible BB gun during virtual class sues school officials

Charged with a weapons violation

The family of 9-year-old Ka'Mauri Harrison is suing Louisiana school officials after the Jefferson Parish School Board determined that Ka'Mauri was guilty of flashing a "full-sized rifle" during virtual instruction.

It was a BB gun.

The child's father, Nyron Harrison, said that the school is treating the incident as if Ka'Mauri brought a weapon to school.

What's a brief history here?

Last month, the school suspended Ka'Mauri following the incident, and the school even recommended expulsion.

"Ka'Mauri presented a weapon that appeared to be a rifle/shotgun during his Google Meets classroom session," September's behavior report on the incident said. "This is a violation of weapons in the classroom setting and a violation of the internet usage policy. He will be recommended for expulsion as per JPPSS policy."

According to the New York Post, Woodmere Elementary School in Harvey, Louisiana, suspended Ka'Mauri for six days in September after he pulled out the BB gun.

Citing a school behavioral report, the outlet reported that Ka'Mauri was taking a virtual test on his computer when his brother entered the room and "tripped over the BB gun that was lying on the floor."

The report noted that Ka'Mauri left his seat and came back with "what appeared to be a full-sized rifle in his possession."

Shortly after being seen with the BB gun in his hand, he was kicked out of the virtual class.

A Sept. 22 school board meeting found Ka'Mauri "guilty of displaying a facsimile weapon while receiving virtual instruction."

WDSU-TV reported that the Louisiana Department of Education School Behavior Report lists the incident as "possesses weapons prohibited under federal law." The report identifies Ka'Mauri's suspension and also recommends expulsion.

What about the lawsuit?

The outlet reported that the family is seeking at least $50,000 in damages for "mental pain, suffering, anguish and embarrassment, humiliation and loss of self-esteem, future counseling and tutoring and lost income."

CNN reported that the school declined to comment on Ka'Mauri's case and pointed to a policy of not speaking about individual school records.

"Regarding discipline, it is our policy that teachers and administrators may employ reasonable disciplinary and corrective measures to maintain order," the district said.

According to WDSU, the family filed the lawsuit on Friday.

"[I]t is very important to the family that this be dismissed, that it does not follow him in his educational career," Nyron said in the suit. "[T]he school did not follow his due process rights."

Chelsea Cusimano, the family's attorney, said, "The school board, from the moment this incident occurred, mishandled it every step of the way. And it's riddled throughout the paperwork; charging this child with a weapons violation."

In September, Cusimano added, "This is a terrible overreaction. This is not a child bringing a weapon to school. This was a toy that was in his bedroom. This would be the same as if you had two siblings in a room and one's ADHD medication was in the background and that child's getting charged with a drug charge."

You can watch a video report on the incident here.

Anything else?

In September, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced that the state Department of Justice would open an investigation into the incident.

"I am alarmed by what appears to not only be multiple violations of both the State and Federal Constitutions, but also blatant government overreach by the school system," Landry said at the time. "I have begun investigating this matter and plan to take action in defense of this young man and his family and all families who could suffer the same invasion of their homes and constitutional rights."

"For anyone to conclude that a student's home is now school property because of connectivity through video conferencing is absurd," Landry's statement continued. "It is ludicrous for this All-American kid to be punished for taking responsible actions just as it is for his parents to be accused of neglect."

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