Superintendent stands by officers’ decision to arrest student

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By Derrick Perkins

Police officers made the decision to arrest a 10-year-old student earlier this week, Superintendent Morton Sherman told the school board Thursday night, adding that he backed the action.

“There was a process that had to be followed,” Sherman said. “The police did what I think was appropriate as well.”

The fifth-grade child was arrested Tuesday morning after allegedly showing classmates a toy gun on the school bus the previous afternoon. Officials searched the boy’s backpack when he arrived at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School the next day and found the fake firearm. He was subsequently charged with brandishing a weapon.

Despite repeated inquiries, police officials have not said why the incident rose to the level where an arrest was warranted.

School officials have since suspended the child and raised the prospect of expulsion. Sherman said administrators had little choice, given the circumstances.

“Existing ACPS policy defines a toy gun as one of the pieces, one of the reasons that there should — not maybe, but should — be, and must be according to the policy, follow up disciplinary action, including suspension,” he said.

Administrators will continue to look into the incident and how it was handled, the superintendent said.

“We know the family well, we know the child well and we’re following through with both the child and the family with our social workers and other support systems,” Sherman said.

In the days since the arrest, ACPS officials have fielded a variety of phone calls and emails from parents, residents and people outside of the city, said district spokeswoman Kelly Alexander