LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas mother filed a lawsuit against the Clark County School District challenging a policy and decision that led to her son’s expulsion.
“He was playing like a kid with something that he didn’t think would be called a weapon because it doesn’t look like a weapon,” Melisa Jenrett said. “It looks just like a water gun.”
Three students were allegedly kicked out of Orr Middle School for using a water gun.
Melvin McDonald was one of the students. The eighth grader was playing with what’s called an Orbeez water gun that shoots small beads on Sept. 8th of this year.
Yet, little did McDonald know it would lead to his expulsion.
“He been out of school for two and a half months, so I’m highly pissed,” Jenrett said.
Jenrett shared with 8 News Now a hearing she had with CCSD administrators on Oct. 31 challenging his expulsion.
“I’m not going to allow y’all to put him in a behavior school when he already been getting bullied in a normal school, so what type of sense does that make?” Jenrett said to administrators. “He’s going to go be around some real ghetto kids. Kids that don’t got a future for real.
Jenrett added, “Y’all are not about to put that on my child. Never.”
According to CCSD administrators, a teacher and several students were hit with water beads from an Orbeez gun.
“The law doesn’t consider that a weapon,” Jenrett said.
Orr Middle School Interim Principal Sara Friedman told administrators at the hearing they didn’t know if it was a real weapon.
She played a video of the students hiding the toy.
“We weren’t sure at that time even where it was on campus and we didn’t know what it was for sure,” Friedman said.
According to a lawsuit Jenrett filed on Nov. 7, Friedman stated she had called the police to charge Melvin McDonald with a weapons charge. The police did not press charges for the water gun.
“The direction that I have been given is that if an Orbeez gun is on campus, and it’s not doing anything, it’s not considered a weapon. But the moment that the students do start to shoot other students, than it’s considered to be that, which is why I did call the police,” Friedman said.
CCSD policy on discipline states principals can use their discretion and expel students who exhibit dangerous behaviors, such as having weapons, in order to protect other students.
However, Jenrett says that the same policy also exempts children such as her son who have a learning disability and are under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) from being expelled.
The district has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.