An outraged Alabama father is threatening legal action against an elementary school after his 6-year-old son was expelled for making a finger gun gesture during a game of "cops and robbers."
Jerrod Belcher, whose son J.B. attends Bagley Elementary School in Jefferson County, told "The Ingraham Angle" Monday that the first-grader was taken into the school administrator's office and "interrogated" before being forced to sign his name on a Class III infraction form for "using his fingers to shoot at another student," according to the notice of suspension shared with Fox News Digital.
"He was terrified, rightfully so," Belcher said.
Belcher's attorney, M. Reed Martz, and school staff said that on September 1, J.B. and another student were playing "cops and robbers" during recess. During the game, the children made pretend guns with their fingers and said "Bang, bang" at each other.
Later, J.B. "was taken to the administrator's office and basically interrogated, made to confess and then sign his name," his father said.
"It infuriated me," Belcher added.
A redacted copy of the document shows a child's handwriting with big block letters, some of them written backward, on the "student signature" line.
Martz said the child's signature emphasizes "how absurd" the school's handling of the incident was.
"We are dealing with someone who can barely write their own name because of their age, and yet they’re hit with a Class III infraction equivalent to arson, or a bomb threat or gang activity," he told FOX News host Laura Ingraham.
The suspension notice states that J.B. committed a "3.22 Threat" infraction, which is classified as "threat/intimidation of student" in the school's student and parent handbook. Examples of a 3.22 violation include "a threat to kill, maim, or inflict serious harm; a threat to inflict harm involving the use of any weapon, explosive, firearm, knife, prohibited object, or other object which may be perceived by the individual being threatened as capable of inflicting bodily harm," the handbook reads.
Arson, assault bomb threats, burglary and sexual battery are also categorized as Class III infractions, Ingraham noted, who asked whether "finger guns" can reasonably be classified under that group of infractions.
"Any reasonable person would say no but apparently, the administration chose not to be reasonable," Belcher said.
J.B.'s disciplinary action has since been downgraded to a "Class II Infraction," and he has been permitted to return to class — but the family is calling on the district to remove any record of an infraction, disciplinary action, or other related report from J.B.'s records. "Additionally, the school must remove any label, warning, or other sort of classification of J.B. as a potentially violent or dangerous student," a letter from Martz reads.
Asked whether they intend to pursue legal avenues against the district, the attorney said, "We hope it doesn't come to that."
"We have given the Board of Education an opportunity, a deadline at the end of this week to do the right thing to recognize the absurdity of the situation of charging this six-year-old," Martz said. He added that he recently learned the incident with J.B. isn't an isolated one for the school.
"There was a similar situation last year where it wasn’t reduced that that young man, another 6-year-old, still has a Class III infraction for using a water gun, exhibiting it at an inappropriate time during the school day. This is what we are dealing with," he told Ingraham.
"It should be noted that punching or hitting a student would have only been a Class II violation, so in the eyes of these school administrators, a finger gun is more serious than punching a classmate in the nose," Belcher told FOX News Digital last week. "Many noses have been broken by fists, but in the last 600 years since the invention of firearms, not a single person has been so much as bruised by a ‘finger gun.’"
School officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment from FOX News Digital.
Fox News' Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.
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