Virginia Beach Airsoft Gun Scandal: Carrying Zero Tolerance for Firearms Way Too Far

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No guns allowed... even toy guns - off school property, and before school hours? Image by missyredboots.

No guns allowed… even toy guns – off school property, and before school hours? Image by missyredboots.

Parents Outraged at their Sons’ Treatment by School

What sets these suspensions and possible expulsions apart from others is they were handed down for acts that occurred on private property.

The boys were not in school, on school property, on a school bus or even waiting at a bus stop for a school bus.

Parents and others cannot understand why – even if Khalid and Aiden did do something wrong – it has anything to do with their school.

Solangel Caraballo, Khalid’s mother put it best when she said, “My son is my private property. He does not become the school’s property until he goes to the bus stop, gets on the bus and goes to school.”

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach Policies and Regulations

Like other school boards, Virginia Beach’s board has pages and pages of policies, rules and regulations, governing the conduct of the city’s students and providing procedures for suspensions and expulsions.

No doubt it is within the school’s jurisdiction to punish students for such things as possessing a firearm and firing a firearm – even if it is an airsoft gun. But the purpose of these rules and regulations must be examined.

Policy 5-21 deals with suspensions and expulsions. The section begins with the words, “Students may forfeit their right to educational opportunities when their conduct is such that is substantially disrupts the educational process and/or deprives others of their rights to educational opportunities.”

Inappropriate Suspension

Even according to their own policies, as you read above, students can be suspended or expelled only for disrupting the educational process or depriving others of their rights to an education. It was never intended for acts that are committed on private property outside of school hours and totally unrelated to school to provide grounds for disciplinary measures.

The school board provides a procedure to appeal suspensions and expulsions.

Resources:

Municode. Code of Ordnances, City of Virginia Beach, Virginia. (2013). Accessed September 24, 2013.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools. School Board of the City of Virginia Beach, Policy 5-21. (2013). Accessed September 24, 2013.

WAVY. Boy expelled for airsoft gun in yard. (2013). Accessed September 24, 2013.

Washington Times. 7th-grader suspended for using airsoft gun in own front yard. (2013). Accessed September 24, 2013.

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