The 6-year-old Silver Spring boy who was suspended from elementary school for one day after making shooting gestures with his hand will have his school record cleared, according to his lawyer.
Rodney Lynch, a student at Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Silver Spring, was suspended from school on Dec. 21 for making gun gestures with his thumb and forefinger. Thursday, Montgomery County Public Schools notified Lynch’s family they were striking the suspension from his record.
Robin Ficker, the family’s lawyer, said “they’re delighted the suspension was cleared.”
MCPS could not be immediately reached to comment on the decision to remove the suspension from Rodney’s record.
Jeannie Lynch, Rodney’s mother, said she was happy to have her son back in school, but said the school didn’t give a reason as to why they rescinded the suspension.
“I think this thing’s been blown out of proportion,” she said.
The incident came just one week after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“I think people are at a heightened sense of awareness at the school level,” MCPS Superintendent Joshua P. Starr told The Gazette Thursday.
Lynch said she thought officials were using “emotions over what’s the appropriate punishment for a situation.”
Rodney’s family got a letter Dec. 20 explaining the school’s decision to suspend the first-grader.
“On Thursday, December 20, your son, Rodney, was involved in a serious incident. He threatened to shoot a student. He was spoken earlier today about a similar incident,” the school wrote in a letter to Lynch, informing her of the one-day suspension.
In a follow-up letter to the family about the incident Judith Bresler, a lawyer for the school system, wrote: “After meeting with the counselor and assistant principal, Rodney chose to point his finger at a female classmate and say ‘Pow.’ Regardless of who said ‘Pow,’ there is no question that the student had been warned and counseled about the behavior.”
Jeannie Lynch said the school made an initial call to her home about the incidents with her son, but she was at work.
Her son was sent to the office three times that day for making similar gun gestures, she said.
The suspension infuriated Rodney’s parents, and Ficker said the school overreacted.
“He was playing,” Ficker said, adding that the school took the worst interpretation it could while dealing with the incident.
School officials declined to speak to The Gazette about the specifics of the case.
“It is important for folks to understand we have very, very thorough and considered processes for disciplinary determination particularly when it comes to suspension of a child. That include numerous communications with families, interventions with social services, a number of steps. We can’t talk about it when it comes to a specific case,” Starr told the Gazette.
Lynch said her son knows he’s in trouble but doesn’t understand why.
“We all know index fingers can’t produce bullets,” she said.