School Suspends Students For Playing With Airsoft Guns In Their Own Yard

from the a-new-high-in-low dept

How did we get to the point where activities conducted on someone’s private property can somehow fall under the jurisdiction of a public school? The short version is this: concerns about actual criminal activity on school grounds led to tighter controls being built into policies. A few school shootings upped the ante and provoked disproportionate reactions from several legislators. And just in case no one felt the new weapon and violence policies erected to prevent the unpreventable weren’t being taken seriously enough, the government “helpfully” tied these new rules to federal funding.

“Playing it safe” just isn’t good enough anymore. Every administrator is compelled to err on the (uber-ridiculous) side of caution because to do otherwise might result in angry parents, or worse, the loss of federal funding. Anything that bears a slight resemblance to a gun is treated as the real thing — a weapon powerful enough to kill someone — even if that “weapon” is a Pop Tart, four fingers and a thumb or drawn on a piece of paper.

The illogical extremes seen in these earlier incidents has been surpassed by Larkspur Middle School of the Virginia Beach School District. Apparently, you don’t even have to bring your “weapon” onto school property to be suspended for “possession, handling and use of an Airsoft gun.”

Three Virginia Beach seventh graders learned their fates Tuesday morning when they were suspended for shooting airsoft guns on private property.

During a hearing with a disciplinary committee Tuesday morning, Aidan Clark, Khalid Caraballo and a third friend were given long-term suspensions in a unanimous vote. The suspensions will last until June, but a hearing will be held January 27 to determine if they will be allowed back in school sooner.

Here’s a little backstory:

Like thousands of others in Hampton Roads, Caraballo and Clark play with airsoft guns. The boys were suspended because they shot two other friends who were with them while playing with the guns as they waited for the school bus September 12.

The two seventh graders say they never went to the bus stop with the guns; they fired the airsoft guns while on Caraballo’s private property.

The bus stop in question is 70 yards away. Three days before the above incident (Sep. 9), a parent of one these students’ friends placed a 911 call to report her concern about Caraballo’s use of a fake gun on his own property.

A neighbor saw Khalid shooting the airsoft gun in his front yard. She told the dispatcher, “He is pointing the gun, and it looks like there’s a target in a tree in his front yard”. [The “target” the caller referred to is an actual target that comes with the Airsoft gun — not a “target” as in “the person being shot at.”]

The caller also knew the gun wasn’t real and said so, “This is not a real one, but it makes people uncomfortable. I know that it makes me (uncomfortable), as a mom, to see a boy pointing a gun,” she told the 911 dispatcher.

Issue #1: Who the fuck calls 911 to report being “uncomfortable?” Everyone knows, even children, that 911 is for emergencies only and not for reporting that you strongly feel a neighbor’s kid shouldn’t be playing with a fake gun on his own property. What’s even worse about this busy-bodied, overweening “concern” is that her personal Neighborhood Watch & Comfortability Patrol didn’t even keep her own child from playing with the (fake) gun-toting neighbor neighbors.

Ironically, that 911 caller’s son was playing with Khalid and Aidan in the Caraballo front yard on September 12. There were six children playing in an airsoft gun war. “We see the bus come. We put the gun down. We did not take the airsoft gun to the bus stop. We did not take the gun to school,” Khalid explained.

Aidan admits shooting the caller’s son in the arm, and Khalid admits shooting another friend in the back.   “He knew we had the airsoft gun. He knew we were playing. He knew people were getting shot. We were shooting at the tree, but he still came and even after he was shot he still played,” referring to the son of the 911 caller.

This 911 caller seems better suited to parenting other people’s children, seeing as her son wandered into the “war zone” unattended.

Despite her call to 911, the police department found there was nothing much to get excited about, according to this statement from Virginia Beach police sergeant Adam Bernstein:

We understand that a number of juveniles possess air soft guns and have “airsoft gun” wars with each other, but as it relates to the city code referenced above, they are in violation of the code if the juveniles are not exercising “reasonable care”. Also keep in mind that this is not something that we proactively seek out to enforce. If we receive a complaint (such as in the case for which you are doing the story on), we will investigate the call for service and enforce it appropriately, i.e. warning or prosecution…

However, a few days later (Sep. 12), a “passing motorist” called the police to report a child with a gun chasing another child down the street “near a Larkspur bus stop.” This call confirms that at least one of the students (Khalid Caraballo) did not leave his yard while playing with his airsoft gun.

” … the white child appeared to have a gun, and he was chasing the other child … when he saw me he kind of stuck it in his pants. I don’t know if it was a toy or if they were playing,” said the 911 caller in the Sept. 12 call.

The caller was speaking about 12-year-old Aidan Clark, who admits he ran off Caraballo’s property into the street in front of Khalid’s house.

“I ran and chased him. I aimed to shoot, and I saw a car on the right,” Clark said.

“He looked directly at me and the black child kept on running,” the 911 caller said.

Aidan was chasing a third child, who is African American and who was also suspended. Aidan says Khalid never left his property and none of the boys shot the guns while in the street.

Despite this being clearly out of its jurisdiction, the administration at Larkspur Middle School leapt into action, according to a letter sent to parents by principal Matthew Delaney.

In the course of the investigation, conducted in concert with a police officer and the school division Office of Safety and Loss Control, we identified the children who were firing pellet guns at each other and at people near the bus stop. Several students verified that they had been hit by pellets and had the marks to support their claims. In one instance, a child was only 10 feet from the bus stop and ran from the shots being fired but was still hit. Another student claimed to be shot in the back while running away during a previous incident Wednesday, Sept. 11. This child was also shot in the arm and head during Thursday’s incident. I contacted the school division’s Office of Student Leadership and School Board Legal Counsel for guidance. Because students were on their way to or at a school bus stop when they were struck by pellets, the school division has jurisdiction to take disciplinary actions against those students responsible for the disruption. There is an expectation that all students should be able to travel to and from school in the safest environment possible.

This statement leaves out a whole lot of details and relies heavily on Delaney’s punishment-n-seriousness depiction of the events. According to the students, they were playing together. Delaney’s wording makes it appear as though students were ambushed on their way to school. Either if they were, what happens outside of school isn’t the school’s jurisdiction, no matter what the legal counsel for the school board thinks. A school cannot assure that children are able to travel back and forth to school safely. The only environment it can even possibly control is the school bus.

Is the school actually taking the position that it’s responsible for students’ safe transit at any point between school and home? If so, then every parent whose kid is injured in any way while walking or biking to school has a valid claim against the school. That surely can’t be what Delaney or his legal counsel want.

This should have been left where it was originally — with the police if they felt like following up on the situation. The public streets are theirs to police. If it happened entirely in someone’s yard, this should have been left up to the parents/property owners. Instead, administration decided to extend its territory solely for the purpose of enforcing its own stupid policies.

More from Delaney:

As the principal of Larkspur Middle School, I am responsible for the safety of students and will take all appropriate actions to ensure that the students using the pellet guns are appropriately disciplined and held responsible for their conduct. It is my sincere hope that they will learn important life lessons; the most important being that there will be consequences when they do things that can result in harm to another person.

This isn’t the lesson you’re teaching, Mark. You’re teaching that every action a students takes, whether truly harmful or not, has the possibility of being severely punished by self-appointed, state-sponsored “saviors” like yourself, people who think nothing of damaging children’s futures in order to assert and extend their authority.

Khalid and two other students have been suspended for possibly an entire year for shooting pellets at other students — students that may have been actively and voluntarily playing with the suspended “shooters.” Does adding a damaging long-term suspension to their transcripts seems like a fair tradeoff for some ultimately harmless pellet gunplay that occurred entirely off-campus (and on private property)? If so, your sense of proportion is severely out of whack, Mark.

Even more:

This was a dangerous situation that involved the intervention of law enforcement, the Office of Safety and Loss Control and our school administration.

Bullshit, Matthew. You’re lying. Nothing was “dangerous.” No one “intervened.” Someone reported something to the police who reported it to you. The incident was over. It occurred before school, off school grounds and was entirely over by the time you decided to teach these students some “life lessons.” This is you adding some spin in order to make it sound as though you’ve somehow averted a future tragedy with your swift, harsh overreaction. But the only thing you’ve done is shown everyone that you have no fear of extending your reach and expanding your jurisdiction.

The school board has issued a statement backing Principal Delaney’s decision while going out of its way to take a swing at the press and detail Khalid Caraballo’s disciplinary record (and has been “helpfully” provided in jpeg format).

We live and work in an era when school safety is foremost in everyone’s mind. Yet somehow student safety has taken a back seat in the intense media coverage of this case. This is not an example of a public educator overreaching. This was not zero tolerance at all. This was a measured response to a student safety threat. A school principal took firm steps to ensure weapons didn’t make their way into his school and that children didn’t have to endure being shot at with a pellet gun as they walked to their bus stop…

All of that might be considered to be true if the final decision from the school board didn’t state that the students were being suspended for “possession, handling and use of an Airsoft gun” — something that did not occur on school property. So, it was definitely overreach, and the possibility of being suspended for an entire year for something that occurred outside of school sure sounds like an overreaction.

The school board’s letter continues, detailing Khalid Caraballo’s disciplinary record (which includes “increasingly aggressive behavior including harassment, bullying and fighting that resulted in injuries”) in order to justify its decision to claim public streets and private yards as its jurisdiction. While this lends more credence to the suggestion that these kids were ambushing students on their way to the bus stop, it doesn’t change the fact that the location where these events occurred is the jurisdiction of local law enforcement — and ultimately, a problem to be handled by the police and parents of the children.

Daniel Edwards, chairman of the school board, states that he can discuss Caraballo’s previous discipline problems because his parents signed a waiver. (None of the other students are mentioned by name in this report.) But his parents maintain they never gave him the permission to do so.

His parents told 10 On Your Side they are upset by that and said they signed a waiver for the school system to talk to WAVY about the airsoft incident only.

Edwards wraps up the letter by bemoaning the press and its “sensational” coverage of the incident.

Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt in this latest incident, but they could have been. Had a child been injured either by a weapon or as a result of fleeing the scene, the school may have been the subject of a different kind of news story; one that included accusations of turning a blind eye toward student safety. We hope that people will look beyond the sensational media reports and recognize that fact.

If you think you’re going to be roasted no matter what decision you make, maybe you should make fewer lousy decisions. Kicking these students out of school doesn’t change the fact that they live close to the bus stop and could easily return to attacking other students (if that’s what actually happened). All this decision has done is made these three kids “not your problem,” at least not until next January. And all that means is they’re right back where they started — in public streets and private property — not your problem. If the media chooses to excoriate you because someone got injured on private property or public walkways, that says more about the media than anything else. But their overreaction doesn’t justify one of your own.

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Comments on “School Suspends Students For Playing With Airsoft Guns In Their Own Yard”

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Ninja (profile) says:

they are in violation of the code if the juveniles are not exercising ?reasonable care?

Because juveniles are full grown adults and have full discerning skills to avoid doing stupid things and violating rules they really don’t care about when they go play.

Seriously I hope this moron and the school get sued to the ground. And I do hope they kick in that argument:

Is the school actually taking the position that it’s responsible for students’ safe transit at any point between school and home? If so, then every parent whose kid is injured in any way while walking or biking to school has a valid claim against the school.


Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, I always wondered why “The Onion” doesn’t talk about onions, onion crops and harvesting and onion stock market. Maybe Mike should rename Techdirt to “The-site-is-mine-and-I-write-about-anything-I-want-dirt”. Or maybe they are writing about it because it has to do with freedom of speech and authority abuses, I swear I’ve seen it before on this site. Go figure.


Anonymous Coward says:

When will Matthew Delaney be fired?

Known liar Matthew Delaney should be fired instantly, of course. He should also be blacklisted from public service for life, as he is clearly unfit to serve the public in any capacity. It’s quite clear that he’s insane and delusional: this asshole actually thinks he’s “protecting the children”.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The police getting called is understandable. The suspension is not.

When she was in high school, my daughter was very into Airsoft guns and frequently had “wars” with her friends. People called the police on several occasions, and on each one, the police just stopped by and reminded the kids that they had to pick up all the pellets before they left or get cited for littering.

That’s the right response, in my opinion.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:

Make sure you fully understanding the issue you’re commenting on before you accuse others of being part of the problem. AirSoft guns don’t look like toys, and would fool most people into thinking they’re real until you get right up close.

Kids should be taught to play with these guns in a careful manner so as not to alarm someone who stumbles across what looks like someone brandishing a real gun, but they should not be suspended from school or punished in any other way for simply using them in a safe manner.

Arioch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I fully understand. These airsoft weapons are made realistic looking because that is what young boys want. You are the problem for not appreciating this.
The issue you seem to have trouble with is called play, it’s a thing that kids do. Give a group of young lads a realistic looking airsoft weapon they will almost certainly declare war upon each other and it takes less than a second for an intelligent adult to realise that these are not real weapons. (no loud bangs m’kay?)

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No, I’m not part of the problem. I have no problem with kids playing as you describe, but the adults involved should be giving the kids basic common-sense guidelines to avoid getting themselves in trouble by freaking someone out. Things like playing away from others and never pointing the guns at someone who isn’t fully aware of the situation.

And a lack of noise means nothing. If someone mistakes a realistic looking gun for the real thing, they may decide not to wait around for confirming noises. And what if they’re not even shooting? Your “less than a second” claim falls apart pretty easily.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

And a lack of noise means nothing. If someone mistakes a realistic looking gun for the real thing, they may decide not to wait around for confirming noises.

I think the point is the 911 caller said she knew they were toys. If you don’t know, of course it’s appropriate to take action, but why call 911 over kids playing with toys?

Anonymous Coward says:

“This is not a real one, but it makes people uncomfortable. I know that it makes me (uncomfortable), as a mom, to see a boy pointing a gun,”

If she’s uncomfortable to see a boy pointing a fake gun at a target, then I pray she never goes near a boy scout camp with a rifle range. If the shock of seeing boys about the same age as the ones from this article handling real rifles and bullets doesn’t kill her, then the amount of screaming about it she’ll do will give the rest of us a headache for months.

Janey says:

The anti gun zealots...

They are strong in schools. This is the mission of the anti gun zealots: “change the culture.” Control the children. Make them passive sheep that dare not challenge authority. Guns “make people uncomfortable.” They are bad.

That’s their mentality. Also, “boys can’t just be boys” anymore, because feminism rape culture it’s bad for girls blah blah.
Read the book “the war on boys.” Lots of crap like this, and overreaching school “authority.”

Chris ODonnell (profile) says:

Re: Re: The anti gun zealots...

Nope. Pretty much all boys are interested in guns. Only a tiny percentage grow up to police officers or in the military. More grow up as hunters, but that is mostly cultural. If you grow up in a family of hunters, you will probably continue. Urban VA Beach is not a place you find an excess of hunters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The anti gun zealots...

Here is a look inside the mindset of the unionized school mentality.

The Janczewski family is fighting the local school district in Rose, Michigan after it emerged that a male teacher (Neal Erickson) molested their 8th grade son and then ? unbelievably ? six other teachers spoke out against the 15-30 year sentence the man received.

?At one thirty in the morning on a Saturday, I was awoken to a bomb sound going off,? Janczewski said, choking back emotion. ?I went to the window to find my garage was on fire and engulfed in flames, my camper and the side of my house?If I wouldn?t have woken up, we could?ve all died.?

Circuit Judge Michael Baumgartner said during the sentencing that he was ?appalled and ashamed? at the community?s support for Erickson, saying: ?What you did was a jab in the eye with a sharp stick to every parent who trusts a teacher.?

Sunhawk (profile) says:

Re: Re: The anti gun zealots...

Pretty sure unions have nothing to do with it – every single story like this (almost without exception) always involves the administrators and/or school boards… and those aren’t unionized.

In fact, in a way you can consider them to be management, the age-old enemy of unions in the legends of eras past…

out_of_the_blue says:

Techdirt exception to "get offa my lawn" for juveniles, eh?

“The school board’s letter continues, detailing Khalid Caraballo’s disciplinary record (which includes “increasingly aggressive behavior including harassment, bullying and fighting that resulted in injuries”) in order to justify its decision to claim public streets and private yards as its jurisdiction.” — You get round LATE to stating that this was part of ongoing concerns; I was pretty much with you until read all. But as it’s not just one incident, er, out of the blue, then HMM… I’ll have to go along with this incident merely tipping the balance on a measured and proportionate response by the school (using one of their few means); it’s likely not getting much help from the parents you SAY are responsible but give no evidence that are.

I guess just your bad judgment not only tips you the other way, but into going with this story on a “tech” site.

Oh. Just noticed your egregious and unjustifiable labels: “Officious Asshat Response (Text)”. — Okay, NOW I’m tipped to you’re ENTIRELY WRONG. Just put up links without characterizing them in advance, sonny. I’LL DECIDE. So this is all probably just some juvenile knee-jerk First Person Shooter gamer reaction.

And for new readers: I regard guns as a fundamental right, as stated literally in the Constitution.

lfroen (profile) says:

Re: Techdirt exception to "get offa my lawn" for juveniles, eh?

> I regard guns as a fundamental right, as stated literally in the Constitution.
Do you know how fucking insane this stuff sounds is for any non-US person? WTF do you need a gun for? Really? Is that some form of entertainment? If you love shooting – why not join the military (I heard US spend on military more than rest of the world combined).
In Israel, there are have real terrorists and war-crazy neighbors you can’t have a gun “just because”. Even if soldiers carry their M16 with them all_the_time, even at homes.
So maybe it IS time to change culture and realize, like rest of the world did, that guns belong to army/police. It’s not a “fundamental right”, in no shape of form

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Techdirt exception to "get offa my lawn" for juveniles, eh?

In the short term, perhaps. But in the long term, perhaps the citizens will learn that guns are the weapons of cowards, wimps and weaklings — people of strength and courage have no need of them.

Besides, as I’ve demonstrated multiple times to some of the inferior people around me who not only own guns (quite stupid) but think they can use them in self-defense (extremely stupid), any attacker who is intelligent enough to use the element of surprise wisely can EASILY kill a gun-owner before he/she even gets their hand on their weapon. It’s simply a matter of opportunity — which, unless someone carries their loaded, safety-off gun in their hand every minute of every day, will present itself shortly. Of course, because these are stupid people, they still don’t get it even after I’ve snuck up on them several times armed with Nerf bat (which of course could just as easily be a real one). None of them seem to comprehend that a real attacker who actually intended to harm them could do the same with impunity.

And then take their gun from their cold, dead fingers, if they felt like it. In other words, “carrying a gun” is not only a statement of personal cowardice, it’s an indicator that the hold is ready, willing, and able to supply free guns to criminals.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Techdirt exception to "get offa my lawn" for juveniles, eh?

Criminals are picking on those that have a hard time defending themselves such as the elderly. Criminals are usually the cowards, wimps and weaklings in any society. They don’t need guns to assault people. Crime went up because they don’t have to worry about guns. Elderly can’t defend themselves when armed men come in with guns or even just baseball bats. You should tell that same thing to the those that can’t defend themselves. Also just because you let them steal everything doesn’t mean they won’t beat you up in the process. Many of the victims in Australia now wish they didn’t support the gun ban.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Techdirt exception to "get offa my lawn" for juveniles, eh?

So because guns might not protect people in some situations, they won’t work in any situation? Is that your logic? Maybe your friends don’t “get it” because you are fundamentally wrong? There are plenty of stories about people defending themselves with guns, your entire argument is nullified before it even starts.

Btw, your patronizing and demeaning manner only serve to make you look like a pretentious jackass and to weaken your already flimsy argument.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Techdirt exception to "get offa my lawn" for juveniles, eh?

In other words, “carrying a gun” is not only a statement
of personal cowardice, it’s an indicator that the hold is
ready, willing, and able to supply free guns to criminals.

My sister is alive today because she was a “coward” and carried her gun with her in her purse. She was attacked one evening as she was entering her apartment by a man who was later determined to have raped and murdered two other women. My sister was to have been his third. Instead, she shot him, severed his spine, and now he’s sitting in prison confined to a wheelchair and pissing through a bag for the rest of his life.

I sure am glad my sister was such a “coward”. Beats being raped and dumped in a ditch any day, you insufferable prick.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Techdirt exception to "get offa my lawn" for juveniles, eh?

I’m one of your weaklings in that I can not otherwise defend myself, being permanently disabled and spending a lot of my time in a wheelchair. Does that make me a coward? Only in your misinformed and arrogant view. On the other hand, I don’t have to rush for a weapon. I live in an open carry state.

Dean William Barnes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Techdirt exception to "get offa my lawn" for juveniles, eh?

I am not sure where that linked source got its stats so I cannot comment on the validity of that site. However according to the Australian Institute of Criminology, crime across the board has apparently declined. Whether those conclusions are valid I am not sure, but they do allow the download of the stats used and methodology applied. So there seems to be some disagreement about the effectiveness of gun control in Australia’s case. Just thought I would point that out to add to the discussion.

OldMugwump (profile) says:

Re: Re: Do you know how fucking insane this stuff sounds is for any non-US person?

WTF do you need a gun for?

Since you asked…

It’s not about entertainment or hunting.

According to the idea of the founders of the US, the guns are there to remind the government to respect the rights of the people. The idea is to suggest that the people have the means to rebel.

You can agree or disagree about whether that’s a good idea, but the “right of revolution” is well documented as being a common idea at the time.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Do you know how fucking insane this stuff sounds is for any non-US person?

This is always what the second amendment has meant to me. It was to prevent a situation where the only people with guns was the government, which would be ripe for serious abuse.

If guns are ever banned, they have to banned for the law enforcement and military too. No exceptions.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Techdirt exception to "get offa my lawn" for juveniles, eh?

So maybe it IS time to change culture and realize, like
rest of the world did, that guns belong to army/police.

When seconds count, the cops are only five minutes away.

It’s not a “fundamental right”, in no shape of form

Except it is a fundamental right here in America. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to agree with it. But it remains a fact, nevertheless.

You run your country the way you like, and we’ll do the same. You’re free to never come here if it bothers you so much.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Techdirt exception to "get offa my lawn" for juveniles, eh?

On minarchist described guns as a human right to me, completely straightfaced.

REASONABLE gun control, such as keeping them out of the hands of criminals and people with mental health issues, I’m in favor of. Outright banning simply wouldn’t work and a case can be made for defensive use as well as hunting or sport.

Any attempt to suggest that owning a gun gives you an opportunity to succeed at a violent rebellion against the government will be laughed at. You wouldn’t stand a chance.

ThatFatMan (profile) says:

It's just conduct.

I work for the federal government. Honestly, this doesn’t shock me at all. Having found myself in the unfortunate situation of facing “investigatory meetings” for allegations of wrongdoing at work, I learned very quickly that “off-campus” means nothing to these people. There are even apparently MSPB cases on the matter. So when the government steps in and says if you want our money that you really need, then you have to do things our way…well, the schools don’t really have much choice.

How bad can it get? Put it this way, they barred me from talking to people who are not even employees of the government. And even though I won a court case against my accuser for the same allegations, it wasn’t enough to stop my agency from first trying to fire me and ultimately suspending me for the same charges.

This is what we have to deal with from our government, and frankly I don’t expect this is going to change anytime soon. Expect many more of these kinds of stories.

Anonymous Coward says:

Good thing I didn't get caught with a Star Trek phaser

When I was in grade school, I made a Star Trek phaser that could be set to stun, kill and several other modes. It was made out of cardboard and marker. But I imagine if a toy gun in your own yard can get you in trouble, I can only imagine what would happen today with a phaser. I would probably still be in jail watching Star Trek reruns.

Rex (profile) says:

As a school employee and a parent I’m on the fence about this. I wouldn’t want my kids being shot at with a pellet gun while walking by someone’s yard.

But… If they stayed to play then that would be their own stupidity and they’d get what they deserved. That’s the kind of parent I am, if you continue to do something stupid then you live with the consequences.

The fact remains though that this was a police issue and had NOTHING to do with the school. They WAY over-stepped their bounds. If the police failed to act then it should have ended there.

New Mexico Mark says:

Good for the kids suspended, though

Maybe now the kids who were suspended will attend a private school where they’ll almost certainly get a far superior education. Even better (for them) any competent lawyer will make sure that public funds pay for that education — probably through med school.

Admittedly this is not so good for the taxpayer. And that is why an “educator” like Mr. Delaney needs to be encouraged into a far more productive minimum wage job better suited to his particular cognitive talents. (I was going to make a crack about a job requiring the question, “would you like fries with that”, but actually I know some pretty smart kids who work in fast food, so even that might be at bit too advanced.)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Good for the kids suspended, though

a private school where they’ll almost certainly get a far superior education

Very unlikely. Generally speaking, private schools are no better than public schools and are often worse.

What actually makes a substantial difference for students is whether or not the parents are actively involved in their education.

Anonymous Coward says:

the most ridiculous part about all of this is, it seems to be extremely easy to stop children playing with toy guns, pop tarts etc and have quite severe penalties given to them. when it comes to dealing with REAL GUNS, you know, the sort that actually KILL PEOPLE, nothing gets done! people can still go buy them, they can use them, they can injure or kill someone, either intentionally or by accident. those dealing with this sort of thing, from the ones reporting the ‘offenses’ to the ones dealing with the vicious perpetrators need to start being a bit more concerned with what are kids playing and what are killing machines in the making and stop trying to pick up brownie points for doing nothing that makes the world safer!

raindog469 (profile) says:

All right, a get-out-of-school-free card!

When I was a kid, I didn’t even like guns. Never played cowboys and indians, war games, any of that stuff that my brothers and their friends did. All I cared about was books and the arcade. But what I absolutely hated was going to school.

If this had happened in my town at the time, I would have been right there on my front lawn with a BB gun every morning in hopes that some creepy neighbor was calling the cops. It probably would have been a Spartacus moment. The next day the only kids in school would have been the girls.

vilain (profile) says:

TRO, dump the Principle or close the school

First step is a TRO against the district along with litigation contesting the jurisdiction the Principle is asserting.

Then file suit to get this Principle removed from the school district and teaching.

If that fails, suit to close the school until they hire a competent Principle.

If the school district through this Principle is going to assert they’re responsible for everything that happens from door-to-door, start collecting cases for a personal injury class action against the district. If there were any shootings that happened while traveling to/from school, this makes the district libel for damages.

Really, this Principle has recto-cranial inversion really bad. Why are all these nutjob Principles in the South?

ECA (profile) says:


what a Title to start a comment…

Who wants to ADd to this??
we had..
BB guns
8′ knives..
Sling shots..

lets ask how many ROCKS you can find in a school yard? go look.. you will NOT find many..

HOW many of you have ever gotten HURT on a school yard??

WHO remembers those STEEL PLAYGROUND sets??? we had one that was 12′ high swing set..
HOW many got hurt?? all of us??
HOW many DIED?? not many..

Nena says:

commentary on Where are the parents?

I live in a rural part of the US. We raise chickens. And, we also use airsoft guns to kill small game animals that harass the chickens (possums, small raccoons, etc). Regardless of what the school does, why in the hell are the parents of these boys allowing them to chase other children with these guns, that can actually do some damage if shot wrong.. Especially if it’s shot at someone’s face? As a responsible gun owner, my kids would have hell to pay if I caught them playing with a pellet gun or bb gun in that manner.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: commentary on Where are the parents?

That might be a question of ammo. The airsoft pellets my daughter used could not kill anything larger than a bee. I’ve been shot with it myself, bare skin, from a couple feet away. It stung and raised a welt, but that’s it. She and her friends wore eye protection (when I was around), so nobody’s eye was going to be put out with that thing.

techinabox (profile) says:

Re: commentary on Where are the parents?

I think you maybe confusing Airsoft guns with BB/Pellet guns. Airsoft guns shoot little plastic, rubber or paint balls that are larger and lighter than metal BBs. Airsoft guns us springs, simple pressure pumps or little CO2 canisters but the guns are primarily plastic; they don’t shoot far (although some can shoot really fast) and can’t take much pressure without breaking.

John85851 (profile) says:

There is a precedent

Although this situation is a wild over-reaction, there is a precedent for what the school is doing. When I was kid in school (years ago), we were told that “school grounds” included the school bus and the bus stop. This was to let kids know that if they saved their fighting until they got off the bus (instead of fighting at school), they would still be suspended.
But when did “school grounds” extend to 50 or 70 or 100 feet from the bus stop?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: There is a precedent

I suppose it varies from state to state, but the general rule as I’m familiar with it is that the school is responsible for the safety of the children “from door to door,” meaning once the child steps out of their house until they actually step back into the house.

I remember in Jr. High that after dropping off a student at the end of the day the driver would have to wait and watch the kid until s/he actually entered their home. A kid could get in big trouble for going anywhere but straight into the house. Likewise, no one was allowed to get off at a stop that wasn’t their own without a note from their parents.

Stupid rules. Still, it’s been going on long enough that a story like this is somewhat run-of-the-mill.

MB says:

You want to know why it’s not considered being on private property anymore? Because once they leave their house to go to school, they are the schools responsibility. And when this has the potential to affect the school day, it then also becomes the school’s business. Sorry, but that’s how it works. I can guarantee you if a kid was injured on their way to school once they left their house by another student parents would be blaming the school, but when kids get in trouble for doing this, people get all up in arms….

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Because once they leave their house to go to school

Irrelevant, because the kids in this case didn’t leave their house to go to school. They left their house to play with their guns. They hadn’t started the home-to-school process yet. Therefore it’s none of the school’s fucking business.

Even so, citizens don’t give up their private property rights and freedom to raise their kids the way they like merely because a school bureaucrat says so. For example, if a rural family wants to give their kids chores to do on the way out the door as they go to school, the school can’t forbid that because some of those chores might be ‘dangerous’ — using machinery, sharp tools, etc.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

So just for a moment I have to play that icky card that everyone in the room is sorta ignoring.

I can almost hear the unspoken words from the concerned mothers mouth…
it makes me uncomfortable when the brown boy holds a gun.

She was so concerned she did not walk outside and tell her child to stop playing with them.
She did not speak with the boys parents about her concerns, in even an irrational ZOMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN way.
Her first and only thought was… I saw something and I need to say something to 911.

Her child played with the guns as well, he is still attending school.

Xenophobia is alive and well, we just let them cover it up with overreaching school policies, but it does seem that race and fear of people who are different played a large role in this.

Brown child expelled (suspended for the year same thing).

And then the chairman of the school board publishes the boys discipline record on social media, trying to justify his actions. The mother signed a waiver to allow the school to talk with the credentialed media not to post unrelated things to the web trying to paint the boy as evil.
He had a fight that resulted in injury… a fight started by another student who was suspended for 5 days for hitting the boy.

Welcome to America where old white men make decisions based on their fears, and who will pull out all of the stops to demonize anyone who challenges them.

DGF says:

School Suspends Student For Playing With Airsoft Guns

Seriously? They were playing in a group, all of them knew what was going on, and they didn’t shoot at anyone not playing… on private property… and the school thinks they have the right to suspend them? What a crock.

This is gun control extremists taking things too far. Given recent events, forbidding guns and installing metal detecters is a good thing. This? This is BS.

RJ says:

We live in a rural area, have 147 acres. Bus stop is on our property line. My 10 year old daughter and one of her friends almost missed the bus one morning last year b/c she was shooting a coyote with her AR-15. Bus driver was nice enough to wait for her to lock it up in pole barn. Somehow school officials found out abt it, I was called in, they were concerned she was endangering the safety of kids on and waiting for the bus. Was complete bullshit, she was 50 yards from bus stop and shooting away from the road. They told me a 10 yo girl should not be touching a gun, let alone firing one. They said she was facing suspension for having a gun while performing school duties/functions (waiting for bus). I went off on them, told them they have no businesses in what my kids do our property, called my lawyer. Put those arrogant assholes in their place. Had a talk w/ my daughter, that she should not be shooting while waiting for the bus, or before her homework was done, etc.

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