Calvert County school officials reject request to clear student record in gun gesture case

September 18, 2013

Calvert County officials have turned down a request to clear the school record of a sixth-grader who allegedly made a gun gesture at a fellow student, in a case that adds to questions about punishments for imaginary weapons.

Carin Read, mother of the 11-year old at Mill Creek Middle School in Lusby, received a letter by mail Monday from school officials saying they had concluded her son made “a deliberate inappropriate gesture toward another student on the bus.”

Read said the letter, from Molly Gearhart, supervisor of student services, did not address her main concern — that officials had gone “way overboard” to both suspend her son and make the incident part of his school records.

“It had nothing to do with any kind of threats against the other student,” she said.

Calvert officials did not have immediate comment Wednesday. When the family appealed the decision, officials said they could not discuss the case because student discipline matters are protected by confidentiality laws

Read said she would appeal again. The letter said a next appeal could be made to Kim Roof, Calvert’s director of student services.

“I will go as far as it takes,” Read said.

The case is one in a growing number involving students suspended from school for pointing their fingers like guns, talking about guns and carrying toy guns.

In Calvert County, a kindergartner was suspended in May for bringing his cowboy-style cap gun on a school bus. The 10-day punishment was later cut back to three days, but concern spread about how school policies are written and interpreted.

Proposed revisions to Calvert’s policy on look-alike weapons are now under review by its Board of Education. Public comments are being solicited, and a discussion is planned for Oct. 10.

Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools.
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