Pretend-play or bomb threat?
A 5-year-old boy in California has been suspended from kindergarten for allegedly making “terroristic threats” against his school, officials said.
The incident occurred when kindergartner Jackson Riley was told to take off his backpack but the boy refused. The child then told his teacher from Great Valley Charter School that a bomb inside would explode if he took the bag off, Fox6now reported.
Jackson’s father, Ian Riley, told the Sacremento Bee that the incident occurred on Aug. 31. He explained how he got a call from the school telling him about what had happened. The school told him that Jackson would be getting a one-day suspension.
Ian was then asked to pick up his son.
“I said, I’ll come get him, but I’m not sure what a suspension will do for a 5-year-old. But they said, ‘It’s what we have to do.'”
Ian told the Sacremento Bee that his both wife Michelle and his son Riley love the teachers at the kindergarten. “We have two kids there and the teachers are amazing,” he said.
“Our issue is with the administration’s knee-jerk reaction,” he added.
The parents then learned that the suspension would be on Jackson’s permanent school record.
The school also sent a letter to Jackson’s parents saying the reason for his suspension was because he “intentionally engaged in harassment, threats or intimidation,” Fox6now reported.
However, that code only applies to students in the 4th through 12th grades. Later, school administrators reportedly changed the letter later to apply to a school code stating that the boy made “terrorist threats.”
“My son never made a threat, never wanted to blow up the school,” Ian told the Sacremento Bee. “He was almost victimizing himself in his imagination, making himself the hero by keeping the backpack on.”
In meetings with the principal and vice principal, the parents were told, “It’s what legal told us to do,” the Sacremento Bee reported. The couple is now set to meet with the Great Valley Academy’s CEO on Friday this week.
The parents say they want the suspension removed from Jackson’s permanent record.
Jackson’s biggest takeaway from what happened is that he can’t say “bomb” at school, his dad said.
“He’s a happy boy and still is a happy boy,” Ian told the Sacremento Bee. “We didn’t come down on him with fire and fury over this.”
Jackson did offer an explanation to his parents, saying that he was just pretending and pranking.
“We told him not everybody wants to be pranked,” Ian told the Sacremento Bee.
Great Valley Charter school said it would not comment on the specific case, Fox6now reported. However, they issued a statement stating that they take student safety and discipline very seriously.