Suspension Upheld for 7-Year-Old Who Chewed 'Cereal Bar' into Shape of a Gun
On June 26 the March 2013 suspension of a 7-year-old boy who chewed a 'cereal bar' into the shape of gun at Maryland's Park Elementary School was upheld.
The "hearing examiner affirmed the suspension" with a "30-page opinion."
According to The Washington Post, the child's parents wanted to have the suspension expunged from the record, but examiner Andrew W. Nussbaum sided with the school: "The evidence is clear suspension is used as a last resort."
When the 7-year-old was suspended in 2013, the school's "disciplinary referral" said the child "chewed his cereal bar into the shape of a gun" and then said "'gun' four times." The referral quoted the child as saying, "Look, I made a gun!" But hearing examiner Nussbaum rejected "arguments that the school overreacted and that the suspension rose from a bias against guns."
Instead, Nussbaum said the 7-year-old had gotten in trouble for "disruptive behavior" before, and he was convinced that if the child had "chewed his cereal bar into the shape of a cat and ran around the room, disrupting the classroom and making 'meow' cat sounds, the result would have been exactly the same."
When the child was suspended in 2013, WaPo reported Park Elementary School assistant principal Myrna Phillips sent a letter home to parents informing them that a student "used food to make inappropriate gestures that disrupted the class," but there were not any "physical threats" involved.
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