An official at a school in Maryland called the police on an 11-year-old boy after a teacher caught sight of a BB gun in the child’s room during a virtual class.
Courtney Lancaster, the child’s mother and a Navy veteran, told WBFF that she was stunned when police showed up at her home. She explained that her son is a fourth-grade student in Baltimore County Schools and is in the process of becoming an Eagle Scout.
“[An officer] explained to me that he was here to search for weapons, in my home,” Lancaster said, adding that her son has taken various lessons related to outdoor sportsmanship, including in archery. She was very confused when police suddenly showed up at her home out of nowhere on June 1.
“I had no idea what to think. I’ve never been in any legal trouble whatsoever. I’ve never had any negative encounter with law enforcement,” she said. “I had no idea. I really didn’t know what to think.” At the time, Lancaster was home alone with her son. “So, I answered the door. The police officer was, he was very nice. He explained to me that he was coming to address an issue with my son’s school,” Lancaster said. “And then explained to me that he was here to search for weapons, in my home. And I consented to let him in. And then I, unfortunately, stood there and watched police officers enter my 11-year-old son’s bedroom.”
It was then that she was told someone at the school had called the police after seeing the BB gun in her son’s room. “I thought, this is outrageous. This is despicable,” she said. “I had no idea what in the world could this be over? BB guns never even once entered my mind. How many 11-year-old boys have BB guns?”
Lancaster was even more furious when she learned a teacher had taken a screenshot of her son’s room. “It’s absolutely scary to think about,” Lancaster added. “Who are on these calls? Who do we have viewing your children and subsequently taking these screenshots that can be sent anywhere or used for any purpose?”
She also is angry about the fact that school officials called the police instead of calling her. “So, what are the parameters? Where are the lines drawn? If my son is sitting at the kitchen island next to a butcher block, does that constitute a weapon? It’s not allowed at school, right? So, would my home then be searched because he’s sitting next to a butcher block,” Lancaster reasoned. “I feel like parents need to be made aware of what the implications are, what the expectations are.”
When asked for comment, the school district refused to condemn the actions taken by school officials. “Our longstanding policy is not to debate individual circumstances through the media,” the district said in a statement. “There are multiple ways for families to share concerns with us. In general terms, the safety of students and staff is our chief concern, whether we are meeting in classrooms or via continuity of learning.”