A 13-year-old student in Virginia was suspended from school after teachers accused him of using an American flag to wipe his hands after going to the bathroom.
Local affiliate WTKR NewsChannel 3 reports that the parents of Moses Hinton say the incident never happened and that their child is being singled out over his race.
Hinton, who is African American, is part of the gifted program at Plaza Middle School in Virginia Beach. "[This has been] very traumatic," Victoria Hinton, Moses' mother, told the station. "It has had an emotional impact on my son's education."
However, WTKR reports that Plaza Middle School's principal is also African American. Virginia Beach Public Schools Spokesperson Eileen Cox tells the station that a teacher witnessed Hinton using a nearby flag to wipe his hands after leaving the bathroom. When the teacher asked Hinton to explain himself, he reportedly said that the bathroom was out of napkins.
Hinton's mother says he told her he touched the flag only after losing his balance while walking up a flight of stairs. Hinton's parents have since begun pursuing legal action, hiring attorney Wayne Scriven.
"Why react so harshly?" Scriven said of the one-day, in-school suspension. "You have a bright, gifted, young black male; it seems to be an attempt to pour ice water on his motivation." Scriven points out that flag was not knocked over and did not suffer any damage in the alleged incident.
Hinton's parents are not currently seeking any financial damages over the incident but rather are asking for teachers at the school to receive more "sensitivity training."