A Modesto, California kindergartener has been suspended for making “terroristic threats” at school, officials said.
Five-year-old Jackson Riley was attending his third-ever day of school at Great Valley Academy when his teacher asked him to take off his backpack.
Jackson refused, saying he couldn’t take off his backpack because there was a bomb inside that would explode if he did.
The teacher then looked inside his backpack and discovered it was empty. Yet, Jackson still received a one-day suspension and had to be picked up by his father.
Now, Jacksons parent’s are fighting back against the school for what they call an overreaction.
The school sent the Riley’s a letter claiming that Jackson had “intentionally engaged in harassment, threats or intimidation,” however at Great Valley Academy that code only applies to fourth through twelfth graders.
It was later amended to state that he had “made terroristic threats towards school officials.”
His parents, however, attribute his behavior to an overactive imagination.
“He said he couldn’t take his backpack off because it would explode, meaning he doesn’t want anybody to get hurt,” his mother Michelle Riley told the local news. “So I mean, granted, it’s all in the world of pretend-play, and we’re talking about an imaginary bomb. But where was the threat? We still haven’t really received a clear answer to that.”
The parents are calling for the incident to be removed from Jackson’s record.
“He’s 5. He has an imagination. We just want what’s right is right, and what’s right in this instance is for our child to not have a permanent mark on his record because of this,” his father Ian Riley said. “We really want it to be known that we love the teachers and we love the environment, we just have an issue with the policy,” he told HuffPost.
Great Valley Academy did not comment on the ordeal, but said simply that they take “student safety and discipline very seriously.”
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