A 12-year-old boy was suspended from school simply because a teacher spotted a toy gun during a virtual class being conducted on Zoom.
Isaiah Elliott is a seventh grader at Grand Mountain, a K-8 grade school in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During an online art class on August 27, a teacher saw Elliott flash a toy gun across his computer screen. The toy was a neon green and black handgun with an orange tip with the words “Zombie Hunter” written on the side of it, according to KDVR.
The teacher immediately told the principal about the toy gun, and Isaiah quickly found himself suspended for five days. The principal also called the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and asked them to conduct a welfare check on the boy, not even bothering to notify his parents before doing so.
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“It was really frightening and upsetting for me as a parent, especially as the parent of an African-American young man, especially given what’s going on in our country right now,” said Curtis Elliott, Isaiah’s father.
Dani Elliott, the boy’s mother, was also livid that the school only called her when police were already on their way to her home.
“For them to go as extreme as suspending him for five days, sending the police out, having the police threaten to press charges against him because they want to compare the virtual environment to the actual in-school environment is insane,” she lamented.
The official police report confirms that the teacher “said she assumed it was a toy gun but was not certain.”
“If her main concern was his safety, a two-minute phone call to me or my husband could easily have alleviated this whole situation to where I told them it was fake,” Dani added.
Curtis said their son was traumatized when officers said he could potentially be hit with criminal charges.
“He was in tears when the cops came,” the father said. “He was just in tears. He was scared. We all were scared. I literally was scared for his life.”
School officials released a brief statement about the situation:
“Privacy laws prevent us from sharing students’ personal information which includes disciplinary action. We follow all school board policies whether we are in-person learning or distance learning. We take the safety of all our students and staff very seriously. Safety is always our number one priority.”
Isaiah’s parents, however, are still fuming about the incident.
“I definitely feel they crossed the line,” Dani said. “They were extreme with their punishment, especially sending the police out and traumatizing my son and my family.”