MESA, Arizona – Officials at an Arizona school suspended a 13-year-old boy for sketching what looked like a gun, saying the action posed a threat to his classmates.
The boy's parents said the drawing was a harmless doodle and school officials overreacted.
"The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good," said the boy's mother, Paula Mosteller.
The drawing did not show blood, bullets, injuries or target any human, the parents said. And the East Valley Tribune reported that the boy said he did not intend for the picture to be a threat.
Administrators of Payne Junior High in nearby Chandler suspended the boy on Monday for five days but later reduced it to three days.
The boy's father, Ben Mosteller, said that when he went to the school to discuss his son's punishment, school officials mentioned the seriousness of the issue and talked about the 1999 massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School, where two teenagers shot and killed 12 students, a teacher and themselves. Mosteller said he was offended by the reference.
Chandler district spokesman Terry Locke said the crude sketch was "absolutely considered a threat," and that threatening words or pictures are punishable.