Kindergartner Suspended for Pretending to Have a 'Bomb' in His Backpack

Fox40 News

Kids are renowned for their colorful imaginations. They can turn boring cardboard boxes into incredible toys, create imaginary friends in their minds, and think up scenarios that most of us can hardly wrap our heads around. Usually, overactive imaginations are tolerated, and even outright encouraged, in children -- but that wasn't the case with one 5-year-old who was suspended from school after allegedly making "terroristic threats" to his teacher. Parents Ian and Michelle Riley are baffled after their son, Jackson, was suspended from school for telling his teacher he had a bomb in his backpack.


According to his parents, the incident happened sometime in late August when Jackson arrived for class at Great Valley Charter School in Modesto, California. After refusing to take off his backpack, he allegedly told his teacher that taking it off would cause the "bomb" to explode. They say the teacher performed a check of his backpack, and after no threatening devices were found, the school called the boy's father to pick him up.

More from CafeMom: 5-Year-Old Suspended for Playing With 'Stick Gun' at Recess

In addition, the confused parents say Jackson was suspended from school for one day and, as his father reports, now has a note on his permanent record that claims the child has made "terroristic threats against school officials."

kindergartner suspended for terrorist threats
FOX40 News

After the incident, the Rileys received a letter from the school explaining that Jackson "intentionally engaged in harassment, threats, or intimidation," even though the same letter states this code only applies to students in grades 4–12 and Jackson is in kindergarten. After the parents complained, they say the school sent another letter rescinding the original grounds for their son's suspension and stating that "terroristic threats" were the actual cause. 

Understandably, Jackson's parents are very concerned about the school's reaction to their son's words. "He said he couldn't take his backpack off because it would explode, meaning he doesn't want anybody to get hurt, so I mean, granted, it's all in the world of pretend-play, and we're talking about an imaginary bomb," Michelle Riley told Fox40 News. "But where was the threat? We still haven't really received a clear answer to that."

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At the time of this writing, Grand Valley Charter School has not responded to CafeMom's request for comment. Following the incident, 5-year-old Jackson seems to be handling things fine, though his parents say they aren't backing down from their fight to get the school to overturn the mark on their son's permanent record. A meeting has been scheduled with the school's CEO to discuss the issue.

Ian Riley told the Huffington Post, "We really want it to be known that we love the teachers and we love the environment, we just have an issue with the policy ... We just want to get our child's situation rectified. He's a happy, healthy 5-year-old with a healthy imagination."

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