A California family was outraged to learn that their 5-year-old son was suspended for making “terroristic threats” after he told his teacher that he couldn’t take his backpack off because there was a bomb inside, KCRA-TV reported.
Jackson Riley, a kindergartener at Great Valley Academy, said that his backpack would explode if he took it off. His teacher opened the backpack and found nothing inside.
Jackson received a one-day suspension and was picked up by his dad from school.
The administration sent a letter home to the Riley family saying that Jackson “intentionally engaged in harassment, threats, or intimidation.”
But the school code says the rule only applies to students in grades 4 through 12.
“We said, 'This doesn’t fit, and furthermore we don’t really feel like our son was threatening you,'” Jackson’s father Ian Riley said to KCRA-TV. “'He’s got an imagination. In his mind, he’s being this hero that’s preventing you from being exploded from an imaginary bomb in his backpack.'"
The suspension remained on Jackson’s school record, and school officials said that he had made “terroristic threats.”
Jackson’s parents said that they have since taught their child not to say “bomb” in school and to obey his teacher, but they are upset that the incident is on his permanent record.
“It becomes easy to label the kid, ‘Yeah, he already made a terrorist threat. It wouldn’t shock me if he meant this in malice too,’” Jackson’s mother Michelle Riley said.