On February 4th, Nakicha Gilbert’s 10-year-old son took a toy gun out of his backpack on the bus ride home from school and showed it to another boy. It was a toy he bought it from a dollar store during a visit to his cousin’s, and after showing it to the other boy put it in his front trouser pocket.
The two boys sat together taking, and the 10 year-old got off the bus at his stop.
When one girl who was on the bus got home, she told her mother that she was frightened by the boy on the bus with the gun, and the mother telephoned and emailed the school stating that she was uncomfortable sending her child to a school where she could not be certain that 10 year-olds were not armed.
The principle of the school examined a video of the school bus and found nothing alarming. But when Gilbert’s son went to school the next morning, his backpack was searched by school officials who found the cheap plastic gun with a bright orange tip, and immediately called the police.
The 10 year-old boy was taken into custody by the police.
Gilbert says that the press coverage of the incident made it seem as though her son had taken a real gun to school, she said that many people thought her son had “a real gun in there and he was waving it around and ready to kill the whole school.”
After spending some time in custody, Gilbert’s son was taken to the local courtroom, was read his rights, photographed, fingerprinted, and accused of brandishing a weapon.
The boy now has a probation officer, lawyers, and another date to appear in court to answer the charges.
Gilbert says that her son had no idea he had done something wrong, he didn’t try to scare anyone, and didn’t point the toy at anyone, which is verified by the bus recording.
The case of Gilbert’s son had drawn widespread criticism of how the incident was handles by the school and the police and court.
The mother of the girl who initially said she was frightened by the incident, Rebecca Edwards, said that although she was initially troubled by what her daughter had described, she is now troubled by the way the case has unfolded. She states that school officials failed to look into the matter thoroughly at the time, and went too far by calling the police the next day. She said “It’s such a bad handling of the situation, it was ridiculous.”
Gilbert’s school also suspended him for 10 days with a recommendation for expulsion.
Police said that they prefer to respond to reported potential threat immediately “If we were able to investigate right away, the outcome might have been different,” said Jody Donaldson, an Alexandria police spokesperson.
The officials at the elementary school defended their actions, and said they were acting within local policies and state laws.
The local branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) said they were monitoring the outcome closely because Gilbert’s son is of African American decent.
This case typifies how the American public are programmed into a fearful state, where even young children could be suspected of committing heinous acts of violence.
All it would have taken was for the school to investigate the matter properly, and not to overreact when they could obviously see a child’s toy. But for some paranoid reason, they decided to inflict terrible distress on a 10 year-old by putting them through the process of being arrested and appearing in court.
The police and court are as much to blame for this ridiculous situation getting out of hand. Did nobody THINK about what they were doing, or what the child did?
The child was doing what millions of children do – he was playing.
If the possession of a toy gun was such a problem for the school, police, and courts, all they had to do was explain why playing with toy guns and taking them to school is not a good thing to do, and leave it at that.
Instead, they all chose to impose dictatorial and Orwellian oppressive practices on a child –totally unacceptable.
What will the child think as he grows into adulthood after being treated in such a way by the authorities, those who are supposed to educate and protect? This will certainly leave an impression on him.
It defies belief that those who are supposed to be educated and are given power and responsibility BLINDLY enforce what they see as their duty and seem to have zero common sense whatsoever.
They should be considered the REAL threat to citizens.