The story of Isaiah Elliott, a 12-year old middle school student in Colorado who was suspended from school and received a visit from local law enforcement after a teacher spotted a toy gun during an online class, is now making national headlines. For some reason, however, many media outlets are choosing to make Elliott’s story one of racial bias instead of acknowledging that kids of all racial backgrounds have been subjected to similar stupidity in recent months.
“I never thought: ‘You can’t play with a Nerf gun in your own home because somebody may perceive it as a threat and call the police on you,’” Elliott said.
Elliott’s son, Isaiah, was later suspended for five days and now has a record with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and a mark on his school disciplinary paperwork saying he brought a “facsimile of a firearm to school” — even though he was in his own home doing a virtual class. The “gun” was obviously a toy, painted black and green with “Zombie Hunter” on the side.
What’s really odd about the national attention on Isaiah Elliott is that he wasn’t the only middle schooler in Colorado suspended after a teacher spotted a toy gun during an online class session. 11-year old Maddox Blow also got a visit from police after his teacher alerted authorities to the presence of a toy gun, and Blow too was suspended by school officials in Jefferson County as a result of his fidgeting with his airsoft gun.
Blow said he was attending online class and finished a quiz early, so he pulled up other things on his computer screen and mindlessly grabbed the Airsoft pistol in his room. His actions were caught on a recording, but a teacher didn’t notice it until hours later when she was reviewing the recorded session, according to Justin Blow, Maddox’s father.
“This is a blatant overreaction on everyone’s part,” said Justin Blow. “Maddox is owed an apology.”
Yep, and so is Isaiah Elliott, though I don’t think either kid is going to get an “I’m sorry” from their local schools.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we delve into the issue of teachers freaking out over toy guns in the home, now that they’re able to peer into the homes of their students during online classes. These two incidents in Colorado aren’t the first time we’ve seen something like this happen. Back in June, a kid in Baltimore County, Maryland also had cops called to his home after his teacher spotted a BB gun hanging on the 5th grader’s bedroom wall. As in the cases out of Colorado, the schools contacted police before they ever reached out to the parents.
As a Navy veteran with four years of active duty, Courtney Lancaster has extensive knowledge of guns, how to use them and how to store them.
In his pursuit of becoming an Eagle Scout, Courtney says her son has learned how to shoot a BB gun and an airsoft gun. He’s also taken three levels of archery lessons. His mother says he stores his bow and guns on this wall in his bedroom. It’s never been a problem until June 1, when police pulled up outside her house.
“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,” said Courtney. “I had no idea. I really didn’t know what to think.”
I know what I think, and it rhymes with “pull fit”.
Parents need to be proactive here, and shouldn’t wait for the cops to show up because their son or daughter was caught on camera playing with their toy gun. They should be reaching out to their local school board members and their superintendent to find out what the district’s policy is if a teacher spots a Nerf, airsoft, or BB gun during an online class session, particularly if there’s no threat involved.
If that policy dictates that police are contacted before parents, it needs to change. That may mean working with other parents, showing up at the next school board meeting, and tirelessly advocating for a policy that’s based on common sense instead of anti-gun fear mongering. The alternative is more students with disciplinary records, or God forbid, kids being arrested or even harmed by officers who’ve been told that there’s a juvenile with a gun in the home. I don’t think any teacher or administrator wants that on their conscience. These educators may think they’re simply taking a “better safe than sorry” approach, but they’re not actually making anybody safer, and this policy is a sorry excuse for student safety.