A Black student with a disability was suspended for "bringing a gun to school" for holding an airsoft pistol during remote learning

A teacher at Grand Mountain School in Colorado Springs called the police on a 12-year-old Black student after noticing—over a video call—that he was "waving" a toy gun—specifically, a Zombie Hunter Airsoft Pistol, according to The Washington Post.

That student, Isaiah Elliott, received a five-day suspension, according to local news outlet KDVR. As noted in the police report filed by the county Sheriff's department, this was better than the alternative—the police informed Elliott's father, who was home at the time, that they could have filed criminal charges against his son.

The implication that they may have shot and killed his child like another 12-year-old Black boy playing with a toy gun remained unspoken.

Here are some more frustrating details from the Washington Post:

When Isaiah's father viewed body camera footage of the tape from his son's class, he said it only showed Isaiah sitting on the couch, moving the green toy gun from one side to the other — not waving it as the teacher alleged.

Over the following few days, Elliott and her husband spoke with the school's principal and vice principal, as well as a district superintendent. They would not budge on Isaiah's suspension and disciplinary record.


Elliott also criticized the school for recording the students in class. She said the school didn't get permission from parents.

According to the Post, Isaiah also has ADHD, which is a legally recognized disability that some people cope with by fidgeting or "stimming" with things (like, say, a toy gun). While much attention is paid (and rightly so) to the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately killed by police, it's worth noting that the largest demographic of people killed by police are those with disabilities. Which means this teacher placed young Isaiah Elliott in double jeopardy by calling the police despite the fact that she admittedly recognized his toy gun as a toy.

And now, Isaiah's disciplinary record is tarnished, which will likely set him back even further.

A Black seventh-grader played with a toy gun during a virtual class. His school called the police. [Jaclyn Peiser / Washington Post]

Student suspended for waving toy gun during virtual class [Andy Koen / KOAA News 5 Southern Colorado]

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