Ka’Mauri Harrison, 9, was suspended from Woodmere Elementary School when his 4th grade teacher spotted a BB gun on the boy’s screen while a virtual class was in session. The gun was apparently visible in the background of Ka’Mauri’s bedroom, where he was participating in the remote class.
There is no indication that Ka’Mauri was using or brandishing the BB gun in any way. Nevertheless, officials decided to suspend him. Now, the boy’s parents are suing the school district, saying school officials went too far in disciplining the child.
The family’s lawsuit was filed against the Jefferson Parish School Board last Friday, October 2. It seeks damages of at least $50,000 for “mental pain, suffering, anguish and embarrassment, humiliation and loss of self-esteem.”
Ka’Mauri’s parents also seek to be compensated for “future counseling and tutoring and lost income.”
CNN reports that the school board held a hearing on September 22, during which they found Ka’Mauri “guilty of displaying a facsimile weapon while receiving virtual instruction from Woodmere Elementary School,” according to the lawsuit.
During the hearing, Ka’Mauri’s father, Nyron Harrison, said, “it is very important to the family that this be dismissed, that it does not follow [Ka’Mauri] in his educational career.” Harrison told administrators that Woodmere Elementary School did not follow Ka’Mauri’s “due process rights.”
The family’s attorney, Chelsea Cusimano, has stated that Woodmere Elementary overreacted when it applied its on-campus weapons policy. She said the school did not consider Ka’Mauri’s privacy or that of his family.
For its part, the school district has little to say.
“We do not comment on individual student records,” Jefferson Parish Schools told CNN. “Regarding discipline, it is our policy that teachers and administrators may employ reasonable disciplinary and corrective measures to maintain order.”
Ka’Mauri’s case has made it all the way up to the Louisiana Attorney General’s office. According to CNN, Attorney General Jeff Landry is investigating the incident and the school’s response to it. Landry says his office has become aware that “several other students are experiencing the same treatment by this and other school systems.”
Landry says Ka’Mauri has the right to an appeal.