The parents of a 6-year-old Silver Spring boy are fighting the first-grader’s suspension from a Montgomery County public school for pointing his finger like a gun and saying “pow,” an incident school officials characterized in a disciplinary letter as a threat “to shoot a student.”
The first-grader was suspended for one day, Dec. 21. The family’s attorney filed an appeal Wednesday, asking that the incident be expunged from the boy’s school record amid concerns of long-term fallout.
The boy “had no intention to shoot anyone,” said attorney Robin Ficker, who described the child as soft-spoken, with no propensity for violence. “He’s skinny and meek. In his words, he was playing.”
The suspension came in a week when the nation was reeling from the massacre that claimed the lives of 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — and left elected leaders, educators and parents debating how best to keep schools safe.
But it also comes as leaders in Maryland and a growing number of states are working to reduce out-of-school suspensions, which have increased greatly in the past several decades and are linked in studies to lower achievement and students dropping out of…