An elementary school student in Chanute, Kansas, was reportedly suspended for bringing an empty rifle shell casing to school – and his mother is not happy about what she believes was an unfair punishment doled out for “being a boy.”
Camron Carlson was reportedly out with his mother, Deana Carlson, the night before he was suspended and she says he picked up one of the empty shell casings on the floor while she and a friend were sighting a rifle for deer hunting season. She says her child put the casing in his pocket and brought it to school, where it fell out of his pants at one point, reports The Chanute Tribune.
Carlson says she was called to the school and was told her son had already been questioned by an administrator without an adult present in the room. When she saw him, she says he was crying. Principal Gary Wheeler reportedly told her Camron could receive a 168-day suspension, but that it might be reduced to five days if he spoke with the superintendent.
“There was no threat,” Carlson said. “My child’s never been in a fight at school. He was just being a boy and bragging because it’s cool.”
Carlson added that she didn’t approve of Camron bringing the shell casing to school, but that Wheeler made the “wrong call” with his consequence. “My child should not have been bawling,” she said. “The principal made him feel that an empty shell was dangerous. In some people’s eyes maybe it is.”
The Chanute Elementary School student handbook specifically states that a 186-day expulsion is the penalty for possession of any firearm or ammunition for any firearm, Carlson said. But she believes Wheeler wasn’t following proper procedure because spent shell casings are not considered ammo.
Assistant Superintendent Diane Watkins sent the following statement via email:
“Student and staff safety is of the utmost importance in our district. The consequences for violating policy are found in our Board Policy Manual. USD 413 follows these policies to ensure that every effort is made to provide a safe place to learn and work. It would not be appropriate to comment on an individual student.”