by WorldTribune Staff, August 21, 2020
A Maryland school sent police to a fifth grader’s home after a teacher reported she had seen a BB gun on a wall behind the student during a virtual class.
The boy’s mother, Courtney Lancaster Sperry, a Navy veteran, is warning other parents about a lack of privacy during virtual classes after the incident involving her 11-year-old son, PJ Media reported.
“While my son was on a Zoom call, a ‘concerned parent’ and subsequently two teachers saw his properly stowed and mounted Red Ryder BB gun and one other BB gun in the background,” Sperry wrote on Facebook. “He was not holding them and never intentionally showed them on video. In fact, he was oblivious that they could even be seen in the background.”
After the teacher reported the gun, the principal of the Baltimore County school, Jason Feiler, decided to call the police to report the guns and ask that the home be searched.
The principal and the teacher cited a rule stating that students may not bring guns to school and claimed it extended to virtual classes, Sperry said.
The BB guns “were simply in the background in our home, safely stowed in a room behind a closed door, with no ammunition (if you can even call it that),” Sperry said.
According to Sperry, the teacher also creepily took a screenshot of the boy’s bedroom. When the mother demanded to see the screenshot taken by the teacher, she was told she would not be allowed to view it because it wasn’t part of his official school record.
“It’s absolutely scary to think about,” Sperry said. “Who are on these calls? Who do we have viewing [our] children and subsequently taking these screenshots that can be sent anywhere or used for any purpose?”
Sperry told PJ Media that the school’s vice-principal called her ex-husband, claiming to be checking on network connectivity. She believes the real reason for the call was to find out whose home her son was at. The vice-principal “ended the call without leveraging the opportunity to discuss the matter and rather was fishing for information to find out where to dispatch police,” she said.
The 11-year-old in question is a Boy Scout, pursuing the rank of Eagle Scout, and is an “outdoors / all-boy kind of kid,” his mom said. “And as his parents and by way of legal rights, he is allowed to own said guns.” In addition to the BB gun, she said her son is training in archery and enjoys shooting his Airsoft gun.
Sperry told Fox Baltimore that the police officer who was sent to her house “was… very nice. He explained to me that he was coming to address an issue with my son’s school. And then explained to me that he was here to search for weapons, in my home. And I consented to let him in. And then I, unfortunately, stood there and watched police officers enter my 11-year-old son’s bedroom.”
“The officers that responded were appalled at the call and even commended the set-up that my son has for his toys and commended him also on his respect and understanding of the BB guns,” Sperry wrote on Facebook.
Sperry asked the principal why the issue couldn’t have been handled privately by phone rather than sending the police. “He said that was not their policy,” she said.