Maryland school busts deranged student for carrying explosives, a.k.a. five-year-old with cap gun; Update: Did WaPo get it wrong?
posted at 4:01 pm on May 31, 2013 by Allahpundit
The kid’s been suspended for 10 days. He was interrogated for, no joke, two hours without his parents being there and ended up wetting his pants. Actual sentence from WaPo’s story: “The mother said the principal told her that if the cap gun had been loaded with caps, it would have been deemed an explosive and police would have been called in.”
If the punishment stands, it would become part of the boy’s permanent school record and keep him out of classes the rest of the school year, the family said. He would miss his end-of-year kindergarten program at Dowell Elementary School in Lusby…
According to the family, the boy’s friend had brought a water gun on the bus a day earlier. On Wednesday, unbeknown to his parents, the boy stowed his cap gun — from Frontier Town near Ocean City — inside his backpack as he left for school…
The mother was called by the principal at 10:50 a.m. and was told that her son had the cap gun and pretended to shoot someone on the bus. She said that both the kindergartner and his first-grade sister, sitting nearby on the bus, disputed that account…
“Kids play cowboys and Indians,” [the family’s lawyer] said. “They play cops and robbers. You’re talking about a little 5-year-old here.”
The boy’s mother, strangely, doesn’t object to there being “consequences” for his actions, merely to the severity of the punishment. I used to think public ridicule for absurd cases of anti-gun hysteria by school administrators was punishment enough, but if this were my kid I’d be on the phone with half a dozen personal-injury lawyers trying to nail down grounds for a lawsuit. Any tort experts out there want to spitball ideas in the comments? An unfair suspension is one thing, traumatizing a five-year-old by treating him like a criminal for having a toy is something else. How about intentional infliction of emotional distress? Negligent infliction is probably closer to the mark, but it won’t fly as a claim in some jurisdictions. Besides, the touchstone of IIED is the “outrageousness” of the defendant’s action. Slam dunk here, no?
Update (6/3): Someone claiming to be a parent at the same school e-mailed us claiming that WaPo blew what happened entirely out of proportion. You can read his account here.