A Colorado school district is facing backlash after it suspended a 12-year-old student for holding a toy gun during a virtual online class.
The school also had local authorities called to his residence for a welfare check, according to KDVR.
The student, Isaiah, was handed a five-day suspension after a teacher saw him holding a toy gun, which was black and green with an orange tip and had the words “Zombie Hunter” written on the side.
Isaiah, a seventh grader at Grand Mountain School, was not in the school building; he was in his home, since classes are still being held virtually.
But the teacher reportedly contacted the school’s principal and asked that Isaiah be suspended.
The principal then contacted the local sheriff’s office about the incident and asked for a welfare check to be carried out. He did not contact Isaiah’s parents, they told KDVR, until after authorities had been called.
The entire incident was “really frightening and upsetting for me as a parent,” said Curtis Elliott, Isaiah’s father.
“He was in tears when the cops came,” Curtis Elliott continued. “He was just in tears. He was scared. We all were scared. I literally was scared for his life.”
Isaiah’s mother, Dani Elliott, agreed and called the school “insane.”
“For them to go as extreme as suspending him for five days, sending the police out, having the police threaten to press charges against him because they want to compare the virtual environment to the actual in-school environment is insane,” she said.
The school, however, refused to apologize and said in a statement that it will continue to take “very seriously” the safety of students and staff.
“We follow board policies and safety protocols consistently, whether we are in-person or distance learning,” said the statement. “We utilize our School Resource Officers, who are trusted and trained professionals who work in our schools with our children, to ensure safety.”
The Elliotts said they have since made plans to transfer their son to a different school.