The Jefferson Parish Schools threatened 9-year-old Ka Mauri Harrison with expulsion from the institution for accidentally displaying a toy gun during virtual learning.
The events occurred on September 11 when Harrison was taking a social studies test in his room on a live broadcast with his teacher and his classmates. In the broadcast, one of his brothers entered his room and dropped a toy BB gun.
The boy, who was doing the exam, got up for a moment to pick up the toy and put it back in its place, but the young man made the mistake of showing it briefly on camera. Harrison’s teacher tried to warn him about his actions, but since he was in an exam, Harrison had the computer muted, so he could not hear her.
According to the papers submitted during his expulsion hearing, the teacher’s account of the event matches Ka Mauri’s.
The institution learned of the incident and they proceeded to threaten the boy with expulsion from school, saying that they are applying the same rules in virtual classes as they do in face-to-face classes. However, shortly after, the institution reconsidered and changed the punishment to a 6-day suspension.
Before the intention of punishing the boy as if he were in face-to-face classes, the family turned to the lawyer Chelsea Cusimano, who assured that these measures are a total injustice since it does not make sense that they are using on-site rules for virtual classes.
“The policies in place are so robotic in nature to apply to guns on campus. They went into this school year without any policy or procedure on how to handle the privacy of someone’s own home,” Cusimano said.
“This is a privacy issue. Not only is this a due process issue and an intentional issue of emotional distress on a 9-year-old, it’s a second amendment right to bear arms issue,” Cusimano said.
Another person who was interested in the case and who offered all his support to Ka Mauri Harrison’s family was the Louisiana Attorney General, Jeff Landry, who, after investigating everything that happened, has decided to take action to defend not only this family but any person who may be going through a similar situation where the punishment is disproportionate during forced lockdowns.
During lockdowns, kids are facing increased surveillance online, and students are even being punished as though they were on-campus when learning virtually. A similar situation to this occurred earlier this month when a 12-year-old was suspended after a teacher could briefly see a toy gun on the screen during a lesson and called the police.