Lowndes County BOE indefinitely suspends student for bringing B.B. gun to school
Published 6:30 pm Friday, April 11, 2014
By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
The Lowndes County Board of Education heard passionate presentations Thursday, April 10 from Karissa Hayes, about bullying and her brother, and from her father, Joe Pernell, about his son, who allegedly brought a B.B. gun to school. But the board approved indefinite suspension of a student at The Calhoun School for possession of a B.B. gun and clip retroactive to March 31.
School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd said the student would have access to a program to earn two Carnegie units towards graduation.
Board member Robert Grant abstained abstained from the indefinite suspension vote.
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Hayes spoke on aspects of bullying in America and said her brother, was suspended “for bringing a B.B. gun to school with no ammunition and an empty clip that did not even fit.”
She said when he was called to the office he reported that he had the pellet gun and did not resist arrest.
She asked, “Does this sound like a killer. Does this sound like a boy wanted to harm his peers, or even in that manner, the bully?”
She said, “This was a scared boy, who just wanted to keep the bullies off him.”
Hayes said, “Maybe this started at a school’s football game when a real gun was pulled on him.” She said her brother told his parents and the police and that both schools knew of the altercation.
She said that maybe her brother “felt like he did not have anyone who was for him, and he brought a B.B. gun to school.”
She asked, “Who are the school employees for the antagonizer or the ones who are being antagonized., the bully or the one who is being bullied?”
When Grant asked Pernell if he was making allegation in order to “help him,” Pernell said, “Sir, when I needed your help you weren’t there because my son failed me, and I failed him because he felt he had to take a gun to school. And I advocate no violence.”
Pernell, who said he fought in three wars… Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, told the board, “I don’t own a gun.”
He continued, “To come here and to have my son feel that he is so threatened by the people at the school where he attends and then to be told by the principal to his face that he prefabricates the truth that he has no credibility… why should he go to that principal?”
Pernell said to the board “You didn’t suspend my son, we withdrew our son… “Y’all have not done the things we as parents need you guys to do. I accept responsibility for my son bringing a weapon on the school campus. However, what I do not accept is the due process and the way it was handled….”