PA School Sued For Suspending 7-Year-Old Over Novelty Buzzing Pen
A lawsuit has been filed against a Pennsylvania elementary school after a 7-year-old student was suspended for four days for bringing a buzzing gag pen onto the school bus.
The student, identified only as G.B., showed his pen to other kids on the Hershey Elementary School bus on Jan. 15. The bus driver asked to see the pen, which emitted a “buzz” when touched, according to techdirt. However, G.B.’s novelty pen doesn’t just vibrate, it emits a mild shock.
Novelty gifts like the “Shock Pen” uses AAA batteries to emit a mild shock when touched. The idea is that it will discourage others from stealing your pen.
The driver confiscated the item and three days later the principal, Joy MacKenzie, called his parents to say he had violated the school’s weapons policy. The school’s definition of weapon includes “any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting bodily injury or property damage.”
G.B. was suspended for four days and his parents were not allowed to contest the punishment. His family filed suit against the school as well as Derry Township School District and Principal MacKenzie.
Because the weapons policy provides for "formal due process proceedings as required by law" parents want to know why they were not offered any avenue of recourse.
“The District has arbitrarily deprived G of his state-created property interest in public schooling without due process of law on the basis of nothing but hysterical and overly-zealous application of a constitutionally-deficient school policy,” the complaint states.
The parents want the violation taken off G.B.’s permanent record as well as a permanent injunction against the school district from enforcing such a broad and "vague" policy.