A 12-year-old boy in Colorado named Isaiah Elliott briefly showed a toy BB gun on-screen during his “distance learning” online class. This prompted the teacher of the “virtual” class to call the police to the boy’s home. According to the seventh grader’s mother, the police threatened to press charges. The boy was traumatized, full of tears, and afraid when the police came. The school also suspended the boy for five days.
The explanation behind the over-the-top reaction from the school is that the online learning “space” is treated the same as the physical school building. This doesn’t make much sense because the reality is that kids are not in school if they’re doing distance learning. Students are at home, receiving their education electronically. The school system cannot create household rules that the children must abide by. Parents are charged with that task. If something illegal happens on-screen during “distance learning” then that is another story. But that is simply not the case with Isaiah Elliott.
The toy BB gun in question is obviously fake. It has the phrase “zombie hunter” written on the neon-green rack slide and it features an orange tip. Isaiah actually has a collection of many toy guns that he is quite proud of. None of his toys look real at all. He is a middle-school boy that plays with toys just like other middle school boys.
Isaiah Elliott’s art teacher saw the “zombie hunter” BB gun and thought that it may be fake, but she also thought that it could be real. It’s not quite clear what the teacher was thinking about. Even if the gun was real, is there a law against a young person touching a gun? The first thing to do in an uneasy situation like the teacher was in should have been to call the parents and ask any questions she had. Rather than doing what made the most sense, and what Isaiah’s mother suggested, the teacher informed the school and the police.
And by the way, all of the online learning class sessions at Isaiah’s school were recorded without the parents’ knowledge. That policy was discontinued after the incident involving Isaiah.
The Parents Should Sue For Damages
Isaiah was not harmed physically, but he was most certainly harmed emotionally. The parents have pulled Isaiah out of that particular Colorado Springs school. The next best step would be to enroll him in a school that allows for in-person education. This case has highlighted how invasive online learning is.
If a child is in front of a computer all day, everything going on around them is seen by others, and in some cases recorded without knowledge. Assumptions and judgment are made without many facts. And the kids don’t get the necessary social interaction and time away from home that they need especially at an early age. It’s about time to chalk the “distance learning” experiment up as a failure and move back to normal life.
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