Five-year-old boy suspended from school for making a “bomb threat”

<i></i>
 Photo: Shutterstock

A five-year-old Californian boy has been suspended from school for allegedly making a "bomb threat" – a move that has angered his parents.

But in this time of heightened security, was the school really in the wrong?

Jackson Riley told teachers he would not take his backpack off, despite repeated warnings, as there was a bomb inside which would explode, according to KTXL.

In an official statement, the Great Valley Charter School said that while it takes "student safety and discipline very seriously" it could not discuss the specific case.

The boy's parents, Ian and Michelle Riley are upset their son has been labelled a "terrorist".

"So, they look in his backpack, and my son's 5 years old; obviously there's no bomb in my kid's backpack," Mr Riley said.

"They called me at work and said, 'There's been an incident at the school.' They told me everything that my son said, and they said, 'You need to come pick your son up, and this is going to be a one-day suspension.'"

The parents were sent a letter stating their son was suspended because he "intentionally engaged in harassment, threats or intimidation", but later changed the letter to state he made "terrorist threats" – a school code that only applies to much older students.

"He said he couldn't take his backpack off because it would explode, meaning he doesn't want anybody to get hurt, so I mean, granted, it's all in the world of pretend-play, and we're talking about an imaginary bomb. But where was the threat? We still haven't really received a clear answer to that," Mrs Riley said.

Advertisement

The boy's parents have since made it very clear to their son that he can't use the word 'bomb' at school.

"He was sent home, and he understands you can't say 'bomb' at school. But he really doesn't understand what the threat is," Jackson's mother said.

Now they want the school to remove the suspension from their son's permanent record.

"He's 5. He has an imagination," Mr Riley said.

"We just want what's right is right, and what's right in this instance is for our child to not have a permanent mark on his record because of this."

A meeting's been planned between the parents and the school so they can further discuss the issue.

"We really want it to be known that we love the teachers and we love the environment, we just have an issue with the policy," Mr Riley told the HuffPost.

He went on to explain that the other parents at the school have been "really, really, supportive" while his son is unaware of the drama surrounding the incident.

"He's a happy, healthy 5-year-old with a healthy imagination," he said.

"A day later he was outside picking flowers for his teachers."