Maryland First-Grader Suspended for Making Gun Gesture with Hand
(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- A 6-year-old boy who was suspended from his elementary school for making a gun gesture with his hand and saying "pow" is fighting his suspension through a lawyer.
The Montgomery County School District suspended first-grader Rodney Lynch for pointing his finger at a classmate, which they said constituted a threat of gun violence, according to Robin Ficker, the attorney defending Lynch.
"His record says suspended for 'threatening to shoot a student' and that's a lie," Ficker told ABC News Thursday. "He wasn't threatening a student, he's never been around a gun, he doesn't know what a gun is, he doesn't know what killing anyone is, he had no intent to harm anyone."
Lynch, who was suspended for one school day, told ABC News affiliate WJLA that he was playing when he made the gesture, and that his friend said "pow."
Officials of the school and the school district did not immediately return calls and emails from ABC News.
In a letter to Lynch's parents, the vice principal of Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School said their son had been sent to the principal's office three times on Dec. 20 for pretending his fingers were scissors and then a gun. After the third incident, he was suspended, according to the letter, obtained by WJLA.
"Yet, after meeting with the counselor and assistant principal," the letter says, "Rodney chose to point his finger at a female classmate and say 'Pow.'"
Ficker filed an appeal with the principal of Nix Elementary School seeking to have the suspension scrubbed from Lynch's record.
"We filed an appeal with the principal. They're branding him, throwing him under the bus," Ficker said. "If they don't expunge that record then we're going to court. We'll go all the way. That should not be on this meek little child's record. There was no intent to shoot anyone. He was playing. "
Ficker said that the school district had no rules or punishments outlined for students who make hand gestures at other students.
"There are Montgomery County school district regulations that say if you bring a gun or a knife onto campus, you're suspended. There is no regulation that says if you point your finger or make a motion with your fist that says what gestures result in suspension," he said.
Lynch's parents were outraged that their son would have a suspension on his record for the incident.
"I don't think the punishment fits the crime," mother Jeannie Lynch told WJLA.
"They're saying he threatened to shoot a student," said Rodney Lynch Sr. "He was playing."
Lynch was reinstated to the school on Tuesday, following the winter break. Ficker said he is awaiting a response from the school on his request to expunge Lynch's record. If the request is denied, he will seek to take it to a higher authority, he said.
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