A 13-year-old boy in Virginia Beach, Virginia and his friend were suspended from school for shooting an airsoft gun.
One of the boys, Aiden, was later expelled from school. The school board has not yet decided the fate of the other boy, Khalid.
Suspensions and expulsions are not unknown except for the fact, in this case, the boys were nowhere near the school or on property controlled by the school when they discharged the “firearm.”
They were on the front yard of one of the boys property with some friends, some of whom also fired the gun.
Neighbor Knew it was Not a Real Gun but Called 911 Anyway
An airsoft gun is a replica firearm that fires plastic pellets by means of either compressed gas or spring-driven pistons. On September 9, 2013, Khalid Caraballo, 13, was in his front yard with some friends. He and another friend, Aiden were firing his airgun. They were all waiting for the bus that was to take them to Larkspur Middle School where Khalid was in Grade 7.
A neighbor, who knew the gun was a replica and ironically, whose own son was in the yard playing with the shooters, called 911. She told the 911 operator, “He’s pointing the gun and it looks like there’s a target in a tree in his front yard. This is not a real one, but it makes people uncomfortable. I know it makes me as a mom, to see a boy pointing a gun.”
The neighbor later acknowledged there was a net behind the tree to catch the projectiles. The boys were apparently shooting imaginary zombies.
Police: Use Reasonable Care With Pellet Guns
Police investigated the matter but decided not to lay any charges. The Virginia Beach Police Department said they are aware many young people have these airsoft guns and they are in violation of a city code if they do not use “reasonable care” when using them. The police urged parents to ensure their children use reasonable care when they have these guns.
The city code allows for such guns to be fired on private property with the consent of the owner and as long as they use reasonable care. Since Khalid’s mother was not at home at the time and could not give consent for the gun to be fired, there was a breach of the Virginia Beach City Code. Despite this, police still decided not to lay any charges.
Larkspur Middle School Suspends Khalid and Aiden
Despite the fact police declined to lay charges both students were suspended from Larkspur Middle School for “possession, handling and use of a firearm.” Not only were they suspended, but the school scheduled a meeting to decide if Khalid and Aiden should be expelled for the remainder of the school year. Such expulsions could have a devastating effect on their futures.
Although the bus stop where students boarded a bus to go to school is reportedly 70 yards away from the Khalid’s front yard, the school nevertheless suspended them. Principal Matthew Delaney said the children were firing the guns at each other and a child who was 10 feet away from the bus stop was hit by a pellet.
If this was in fact the case, it is strange that the police, who actually arrived at the scene, did not charge the two boys – or even determine they were using the guns in an unsafe manner.