Autistic fifth-grade student handcuffed, hauled off to juvenile hall for aiming imaginary rifle

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How far can one take zero tolerance? Judging from a recent incident out of Houston, the sky is evidently the limit.

According to Fox News affiliate KRIV, 12-year-old David Sims violated one of the cast-in-stone commandments of Bozman Intermediate school last Monday when his art teacher found him packing “fake heat.” The boy was brandishing an “imaginary” rifle, which made the teacher “feel threatened.”

“She [a Conroe Independent School District police officer] just put handcuffs on me and told me I need to go with her,” said David. …

“They just said, ‘We don’t tolerate that. We take it as a threat.’ A threat? He didn’t threaten anyone. He didn’t do anything but play,” said Amy Sims, David’s mother.

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Amy Sims says she wasn’t notified of the classroom incident until after her son was in custody. Like many students challenged with autism, Amy says her son simply didn’t understand “make believe” gunplay on campus has become inappropriate behavior.

The child spent more than two hours at the Juvenile Detention Center, but in view of his age and disability it is not likely the county will pursue charges against him(!), though he will have to attend an alternative disciplinary school for the remainder of the Spring semester.

Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright told reporters that “the imaginary rifle fire” was reportedly preceded by a verbal threat, adding that it was latest of many outbursts at schools throughout the district. Lambright explained:

Right after the Florida incident we were getting two a day, three a day and it wasn’t isolated to any particular school. We have six school districts in Montgomery County and they were coming in across the County.

I can certainly empathize with Lambright and feel his pain. Ditto for David’s art teacher. I’ve never been in the line of imaginary rifle fire, but I can imagine it’s even more frightening than having a finger pointed at you like a gun.

(Ed. Wonder if this could have been avoided if the imaginary rifle had a warning label?)


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