Boy suspended for chewing breakfast pastry into a gun shape will get hearing

A hearing examiner will consider the case of an Anne Arundel County boy suspended from school after chewing his Pop-Tart-like pastry into the shape of a gun.

The county Board of Education notified the family’s attorney Thursday by e-mailed letter that it will refer the high-profile disciplinary case to a hearing examiner for an evidentiary hearing. The date has not yet been set, according to the letter.

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The family has been seeking to clear the school records of the boy, who was 7 years old and in second grade at Park Elementary School at the time of the March incident. He has already served a suspension. School officials allege he pointed the weapon-shaped pastry at other students.

Previous appeals in the case, including to the superintendent’s designee, have been turned down.

Anne Arundel schools spokesman Bob Mosier said by e-mail late Thursday that he could not comment on the matter because of confidentiality issues.

The family’s attorney, Robin Ficker, questioned why the case has dragged on so long.

“No one was scared, no one thought he had a gun,” he said. “He was 7. He was imagining things.”

Ficker pointed out that he has handled other cases involving students with imaginary or toy guns in Montgomery, Prince William and Calvert counties that were resolved with school officials clearing student records.

In those jurisdictions, “they decided there was no need to brand the kid,” he said. “What’s the importance of keeping it on the student record?” With the child’s suspension, “they already made an impression,” he said. “I don’t understand why they don’t let it go.”

At the time of an earlier appeal, Ficker said school officials disputed the case was “a singular incident, having to do only with a breakfast pastry,” instead referring to other behavior attributed to the child.

The case, which attracted national attention, came 11 weeks after the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., at a time of heightened sensitivities about guns.

 
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