One local mother fought for what she thought was an unfair punishment for elementary school aged son and changed the mind of school leaders. Two weeks ago she went to the school board saying the punishment didn't fit what was perceived to be against the rules. Her 8 year old son Jordan was suspended and written up for being violent after using his index finger and thumb to make a "finger gun" while playing cops and robbers with a classmate.
Tuesday night Bonnie Bennett showed up to thank the Osceola County School Board for reconsidering her son's punishment and the circumstances. "First and foremost I'm here to thank the board for ensuring Jordan's punishment he received at Harmony would receive a full investigation," said Bonnie Bennett.
Her son told her he'd been playing cops and robbers on the playground with another boy. "There was a girl involved. I think she was sad because they wouldn't stop playing. That's the story that essentially came out. She wasn't scared or hurt, she was sad. He didn't say anything bad or threatening or hurt anyone. He didn't go towards anyone. If it wasn't allowed where he was playing, he should have been put in time out or counseled, not suspended." And that wasn't all. "It was being labeled as a threatening violent child and he's not. It's just not right so I spoke up. I thought it was overblown on the schools part. They over reacted. They were over zealous. they punished him unjustly. they did not follow his due process," said Bonnie Bennett.
After researching the incident, school board members agreed with Bonnie Bennett. School Board Chairman Jay Wheeler addressed her in front of the crowd. "I apologize for what happened to you and your family. I hope we can all learn from this so it doesn't' happen again," said Chairman Wheeler. Apparently so did parents from across the country. "I had calls and emails coming to me from across the country, LA to New York to New Jersey, Indiana, you name it," said School Board Member Tom Long. "I appreciate you being here and standing up for your son," said Chairman Wheeler.
Jordan's suspension has since been changed into an approved absence. And, any reference to him being a threatening violent child because of the "finger gun incident" has been removed from his school record. That's exactly what his mother wanted. "I'm glad to see it's been changed. Jordan has been exonerated completely. Mr. Davis offered that to me and I appreciate it," said Bennett.
Bennett tells FOX 35 she's asked her son to never play 'cops and robbers' and to never use a "finger gun" at school again. She says while there is nothing in the student code of conduct that prohibits either, she doesn't want any more misunderstandings with the school.