4th grader sues school system over BB gun suspension

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HARVEY, La. (AP) — The family of a Louisiana fourth-grader is suing the public school system that suspended him after a teacher spotted a BB gun in his room during an online class session.

The lawsuit filed Friday in Louisiana’s 24th Judicial District Court seeks monetary damages from the Jefferson Parish school system, a hearing by school officials on the decision to discipline the boy as well as an opportunity for him to make up any work he missed during the six days he was suspended from class, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Ka’Mauri Harrison, who is Black, was taking a test during an online class Sept. 11 when his brother walked into the room they share and tripped over a BB gun on the floor, according to a school behavior report. It said Ka’Mauri left his seat, out of view of the teacher, and returned with “what appeared to be a full-sized rifle in his possession.”

“This case arises from egregious government overreach, complete lack of common sense to prevail and correct the glaring failures of local government officials to comply with the law,” the suit says. “The result is a terrifying intrusion into a family’s home and a bureaucratic nightmare.”

A Jefferson Parish schools spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit, the newspaper said, citing a policy of not commenting on individual students’ records. The school board’s agenda for its meeting Wednesday includes hiring an attorney to handle the case.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has said he’s investigating the boy’s suspension, citing possible infringement of the child’s constitutional rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association have also spoken out in defense of the child.

The lawsuit accuses the school system of failing to provide Ka’Mauri’s family with a copy of its policies for online school at the start of the academic year and for infringing on the boy’s due process rights as he faced serious discipline.

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