BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has asked to join in a federal lawsuit filed by the Jefferson Parish family of a boy who was suspended from school over the appearance of a BB gun during a virtual instruction session.
Fourth-grader Ka’Mauri Harrison was suspended in September for violating a policy banning weapons at schools after a teacher saw the BB gun in his room as he took a test online. The incident led to the passage of a bill in his name clarifying student discipline laws.
The boy’s parents have since filed suit, claiming the Jefferson Parish School Board and its superintendent interpreted and applied state law improperly, even after the passage of the Ka’Mauri Harrison Act.
“Attorney General Landry has long maintained that an individual’s private home is not an extension of the classroom, and he has taken a number of actions to defend Ka’Mauri and other students who were sent into a bureaucratic abyss for no reason and told there is no way out,” Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office said in a statement released Monday.
In his filing in the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, Landry said the state has an interest in the suit because the school board acted beyond its legal power or authority in ways that violate the constitutional rights of students and parents. In particular, Landry takes issue with the school board’s interpretation of the law that he says violates “the rights of students and their parents to privacy in their homes and expanding the law in a manner never contemplated by the Legislature.”
Landry says the school board imposed mandatory expulsion statutes to conduct that is neither prohibited nor even covered by existing school discipline statutes and denied the student (and his parents, the right to due process.
“The Jefferson Parish School Board has violated state law over and over,” Landry said in a statement released Monday on joining the federal lawsuit.
“It is unfortunate that we have had to go to such lengths to correct the Board’s egregious behavior and misinterpretation of the law. The Legislature even unanimously passed a law expressly reaffirming that the home is not school property and discipline policies cannot treat it the same. The Board’s dogged insistence upon continuing to do so is not only senseless and wrong, but it is also a waste of taxpayer dollars.”