PORTLAND, Ore. (WRIC) -
A middle school student was suspended and turned over to police because he drew a doodle in class of a person being hanged by a noose, according to the boy’s father.
On Thursday, the Courthouse News Service (CNS) reported that Robert Bernard Keller claims Raleigh Hills K-8 suspended his 13-year-old son, B.R.K., on April 30, 2013 for drawing the doodle. Keller says he and his wife were at the school later that day for an Individualized Education Program meeting, during which they were told that although their son was “doing fine,” he had been suspended, pending a risk assessment.
Keller insists he and his wife specifically told Raleigh Hills their son was not to be interviewed without a parent present. Still, he says two days later, Beaverton Police officers interviewed B.R.K. alone about the alleged threat of harm at the school’s request, without parental consent.
“At no time did the officers or school obtain a warrant, contact the minor child’s parents to obtain parental consent, provide a counselor or attorney to the minor child or advise B.R.K. of his right against self-incrimination or provide an advocate who could explain,” Keller’s complaint reads, in part.
The complaint goes on to say that the school psychologist conducted a risk assessment of the boy, with his parents present, on May 2, and it was decided that he did not pose a risk. He returned to school that day. Keller alleges it was then that the school called in Beaverton Police officers to interview his son, after he had already been cleared to return to class and his parents had left.
CNS reports that Keller and his family are seeking at least $100,000 in damages for violations of the Fourth and 14th Amendments, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and failure to train and supervise.
Though B.R.K. had allegedly drawn a pencil sketch of a person being hanged and was not necessarily playing the game Hangman, the Internet has erupted over the idea that a child could be suspended and turned over to police for engaging in the activity.
Mike Miller, an Independent Journal Review staff writer, wrote, “Remember playing ‘hangman’ as a child? Me too. Apparently the popular doodling game now presents a clear and present danger in our public schools … Kudos to the Beaverton School District and Police Dept. for apprehending this potential criminal before it was too late.”
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond ___________________________________________