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La. attorney general launches investigation into student's BB gun suspension

11 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Friday, September 25 2020 Sep 25, 2020 September 25, 2020 11:20 AM September 25, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ Staff
Photo: The Advocate

HARVEY — Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced Friday his office is investigating the suspension of a 4th grader whose BB gun was visible during a virtual class.

Woodmere Elementary student Ka Mauri Harrison was suspended for six days and almost expelled for the incident, news outlets reported. 

A school behavior report said Ka Mauri was taking a test in his virtual class on Sept. 11 when his brother walked into the room and tripped over a BB gun that was lying on the floor. The brothers share a room.

The report said Ka Mauri left his seat, out of view of the teacher, and returned with “what appeared to be a full-sized rifle in his possession.” The teacher tried to talk to Ka Mauri, but his computer was muted and he was subsequently kicked out of the class, the report said.

In a news release, the AG said his team is investigating possible "violations of both the State and Federal Constitutions" and accused the school system of overreach.

Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough also urged Jefferson Parish Superintendent James Gray to reconsider the punishment. Kimbrough said Ka Mauri’s punishment exceeded the offense and that this type of disciplinary action may harm Ka Mauri in the future.

Kimbrough wrote a letter to Gray expressing his understanding of the difficulties schools are facing during the pandemic. However, he wondered whether the school system had adequate policies for situations like Ka Mauri’s.

School Board member Simeon Dickerson seconded that, saying that the school should have backed off once they realized it was a BB gun.

Both men urged Gray to hold another disciplinary hearing, remove the suspension from Ka Mauri’s record, update the system’s policies and issue a public apology.

Gray wouldn’t comment on Kimbrough’s letter. A school system spokesperson said nothing has changed regarding Ka Marui’s suspension. Other school board members also wouldn’t comment.

“You have this overcriminalization of Black boys,” Kimbrough said. “As the father of an 11-year-old boy, I want my son to be viewed through a lens of innocence if he makes a mistake, and not have to worry about him being suspended or expelled, or because this is America today, possibly killed.”

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