A hearing examiner supported the decision of a Baltimore-area school principal to suspend a 7-year-old boy for chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. But his family's attorney is reportedly vowing to take the case further if the decision is upheld.
Andrew Nussbaum, a lawyer who serves as a hearing examiner for several school systems surrounding Washington, rendered a 30-page opinion Monday and agreed that principal Sandra Blondell of Park Elementary School in Anne Arundel County, Maryland acted properly when she removed the boy from school.
The boy, according to Nussbaum's opinion, told his classmates, after nibbling the breakfast pastry: "Look, I made a gun." The incident took place in March, 2013, only months after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
"As much as the parents want this case to be about a 'gun,' it is, rather, a case about classroom disruption from a student who has had a long history of disruptive behavior," Nussbaum wrote in his opinion, which was dated June 26, the Washington Post reported. He asserted that the suspension came as a result of disciplinary problems the boy had, and not just because of what he did with the breakfast pastry.
"Had the student chewed his cereal bar into the shape of a cat and ran around the room, disrupting the classroom and making 'meow' cat sounds, the result would have been exactly the same," Nussbaum wrote, according to the Post.
Robin Ficker, an attorney representing the boy's family said that the boy had "minor" disciplinary problems, but suspending him was going too far.
"It seems to me that schools need, with all their expertise and experience, they need to know how to deal with 7-year-old second-graders without putting them out of the educational setting," Ficker told CBS News. "They need to deal with them rather than just throwing in the towel.
"If they can't deal with 7-year-olds, how can they deal with 17-year-olds?"
Ficker said that he would file exceptions to Nussbaum's opinion to the local school and if they don't rescind the suspension, he will file to the state school board. If that fails, he will take the case to court.
"I don't see why this child should be branded in this way," Ficker said. "It seems we have a lot of school personnel and they are unwilling to admit they went too far on that particular day."
Nussbaum declined comment to CBS News.
His recommendation will go to the school board, which will decide whether or not to uphold its decision.
The boy, who has since turned 8, finished the school year after his suspension and was transferred to another school.
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