METAIRIE, La. (WVUE) -As an 11-year-old, special needs, A-plus student, Tomie Brown’s dad, Tim says his son’s room is his special place, but believes it is not Jefferson Parish School property.
“They do not pay any bills at my house, they have not come here and help me set up a place for my son to attend virtual training,” said Brown.
A discipline report from September shows during virtual learning a teacher at Grand Isle school did not see the BB gun in Tomie’s screen, only heard students say “he has a gun”.
“After I received a phone call asking us to come to the principal’s office the next day, I went into his bedroom with him because he didn’t mention anything had happened because it was so insignificant from his in perspective anyway,” said Brown.
It’s been an ongoing discussion of privacy during virtual learning under COVID-19. The school board downgraded Tomie’s recommended expulsion to a suspension with probation but kept the weapons charge on his record.
“My son did nothing wrong ya know. If my son had done something wrong the school system would’ve been second in line to punish him, but he did not do anything wrong,” said Brown.
Brown says they asked the school board to expunge his record, but instead handed down similar outcomes in another case-- the Ka’mauri Harrison case which like Tomie’s case, claims the bedroom is not an extension of school campus during virtual learning.
“They have stigmatize these children and declared that they’ve done something in my opinion so, so wrong the worst thing you can do bring a weapon to school when that’s not what happened here,” said Harrison.
Attorney for both parties, Chelsea Cusimano says Tomie shouldn’t be punished for the nationwide attention from another student’s case, asserting privacy violations, conspiracy, emotional distress, and racial bias among several claims in the lawsuit.
“I can’t, and I know Mr. Brown can’t, and I know the Harrison family can’t pinpoint a difference between these two children other than race and media retaliation… they just cannot except accountability for the bad behavior of their administration,” said Cusimano.
Brown says his family never wanted to sue the school district, but says he has to protect his son.
“This whole thing getting this off my sons record is the number one goal in this,” said Brown.
The Jefferson parish school system says they do not comment on pending litigation.
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