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7th-grader suspended for using airsoft gun in own front yard

- The Washington Times - Monday, September 23, 2013

A 7th-grade student in Virginia Beach, Va., suspended from school for shooting an airsoft gun in his front yard will find out on Monday if he is expelled for the rest of the year, a local television station reported.

Khalid Caraballo, 13, and some friends were playing with airsoft guns on his front lawn as they waited for the bus one morning, WAVY first reported. Airsoft guns are non-lethal replica firearms that fire plastic pellets by way of spring-driven pistons.

A concerned neighbor called 911 to report the incident.

"He is pointing the gun, and it looks like there's a target in a tree in his front yard," she told the dispatcher. "This is not a real one, but it makes people uncomfortable. I know that it makes me [uncomfortable], as a mom, to see a boy pointing a gun."

Ironically, the caller's son was playing with Khalid and Aidan in the Caraballo front yard.

Khalid and his friend Aidan, 13, were suspended for "possession, handling and use of a firearm." The airsoft guns reportedly never made it to school property. The bus stop is reportedly 70 yards from the yard.

Aidan's father, Tim Clark, said he doesn't allow his son to play with the replica guns unsupervised, and the suspension lacks common sense.

"My son is my private property. He does not become the school's property until he goes to the bus stop, gets on the bus, and goes to school," said Khalid's mother, Solangel Caraballo, according to WAVY.

Larkspur Middle School principal Matthew Delaney issued a statement that the "children were firing pellet guns at each other, and at people near the bus stop," adding that one child "was only 10 feet from the bus stop, and ran from the shots being fired, but was still hit."

Police said no one will be charged in the case.  

"We understand that a number of juveniles possess air soft guns and have 'airsoft gun' wars with each other, but as it relates to the city code referenced above, they are in violation of the code if the juveniles are not exercising 'reasonable care,' " the Virginia Beach Police Department said in a statement. "We want to stress to the parents of the juveniles and the operators of these type of 'pneumatic guns' that they need to be handled responsibly and with reasonable care to ensure that the projectile is properly contained."

The boys had a hearing Monday afternoon to determine if they will be kicked out of their school for the entire year, the station reported.

 

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