The Virginia Beach City Public School district is saying that the students aren’t actually being expelled; they’re being given “long-term suspensions.” Whatever the case, the students won’t be allowed back to school for the rest of this semester and even until June of next year. There will be some hearing in January to decide if these students deserve longer-term suspensions.
These “suspensions” were prompted by an incident a couple weeks ago when a few friends were playing with their airsoft plastic pellet guns in one of the boys’ front yards while they were waiting for the morning bus to come. A “concerned” neighbor called 911, even admitting to the operator that the guns were toys, but that they made her feel “uncomfortable.” Local news media reported that ironically, this concerned neighbor’s own son was among those kids playing in an airsoft gun war. That particular 911 call was made on September 9th.
A second 911 call was made three days later by another concerned neighbor. That time, police notified the kids’ school of their actions, and school officials investigated the incident and unanimously suspended the three boys involved who were playing with the toy guns: Khalid Caraballo, Aidan Clark and a third, unnamed friend. The other three kids involved who were not playing with guns were not suspended. Those suspended were charged with “possession, handling and use of a firearm.” On Tuesday, school officials changed the charge to “possession, handling and use of an airsoft gun.”
But by all accounts, the kids weren’t playing on school property. They weren’t playing with their guns on the school bus. They were in Caraballo’s front yard. So why did the police feel like they had to notify the school? And why did the school feel obligated to get involved with something that should have remained a private matter?
According to the chairman of the school board, the reason is that other students at the bus stop were put in danger of being hit by plastic pellets:
“[S]omehow student safety has taken a back seat in the intense media coverage of this case. This is not an example of a public educator overreaching. This was not zero tolerance at all. This was a measured response to a threat to student safety.”
The school must be so used to thinking they own the students that they butt in wherever they don’t belong. (Of course, they don’t really belong anywhere.) Khalid’s mom stated, “How dare he [Khalid] disobey me, but this is a home issue. It’s not a school issue, and it won’t happen again. He will never do this again.” And Aidan’s dad agreed: “I always thought this was a Dad deal, not a school deal. It was a parental issue, not a school issue.”
Thanks to the school’s actions, these kids will likely have “history of gun violence” branded on their school records.
The one good thing that’s come of this is that the parents are being forced to offer their kids an alternative to government schools:
Until the hearing in January, the boys will either attend Renaissance Academy or be homeschooled. Aidan’s father said his son will be homeschooled. Caraballo will attend an alternative school.
Like Will Smith’s son Jaden said, “If everybody in the world dropped out of school we would have a much more intelligent society… School is the tool to brainwash the youth.”