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Father of 6-year-old finger-gun student wants son’s record cleared

A parent of an elementary school student in Jefferson County is defending his 6-year-old son after he was suspended for making a “finger gun” while playing with his classmate.

The student’s father, Jerrod Belcher, said his son J.B. was accused of committing a “Class III” infraction while playing “cops and robbers” with his friend at Bagley Elementary School.

Belcher talked about the situation Thursday on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program.”

“I tried to talk sense to her,” Belcher said about the assistant principal who suspended his son. “I’m like ‘listen, this is just two kids playing. You should use reason and discretion.’ But she just kind of dug her heals in and just basically said ‘these are the rules and this is what’s going to happen.'”

At first he gave the assistant principal the benefit of the doubt, but was still not convinced his son did anything wrong after hearing the full story.

“So we sat down and I ask her, ‘Can you tell me what happened?’ And she proceeds to tell me that my son was playing with another student and they were using their index fingers as a gun,” he said. “And I’m like ‘OK – was there any threat involved, any hostilities?’ And she said no. ‘Was there any violence, physical contact?’ She said no. ‘Was there any indication of a future threat?’ She said no. And I said ‘well this kind of sounds like two boys playing cops and robbers.’ And she admitted that’s what it was.”

Belcher is working with Gun Owners of America and taking legal action against the school to get the incident expunged from his son’s school record.

“Well what we’re asking for is having this issue removed from his record,” he said, “because they literally put a scarlet letter in his file, labeling him as potentially violent and dangerous. So that is the number one goal. The next thing is we want some policy change so this doesn’t happen to any other student.”

In response to the complaint, Dr. Walter Gonsoulin, superintendent of the Jefferson County School system, released a statement saying, “In this particular case, the parents were contacted and took the student home for the remainder of the day because of the initial information we received.”

Belcher admitted he’s shocked that something like this can happen in Alabama.

“I can’t believe this happened,” he said. “It shouldn’t happen anywhere, but I wouldn’t have been as surprised if this happened in say California or New York, but I never would have expected this to happen in rural Alabama.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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