11-year-old displaying BB gun during online class suspended

DENVER — A Colorado middle school student was suspended four days earlier this week after displaying a BB gun during an online class.

After finishing a quiz early, Maddox Blow, a sixth grader at Bell Middle School, started looking at his computer screen and absent-mindedly grabbed a nearby Airsoft pistol, KDVR reported.

“I was just fiddling with it because I was bored, and so I just fiddled with the nearest object at hand,” Maddox, 11, said. “I would never bring even a toy to the actual school because I know how serious that is. I was in my own home, and I felt that that was OK, and I thought that my camera was off too.”

He was not immediately reprimanded. A teacher noticed Maddox’s actions hours later while watching a recording of the session.

The teacher wrote in an email to his parents that, “Maddox Blow was posing with what looked like a toy gun. He did this for a few minutes, showing the gun and putting in the gun clip on camera.”

School resource officers reported the incident to Wheat Ridge police who conducted a welfare check.

“I was crying. I just couldn’t handle it. I really thought I was going to jail, or something was going to happen to me or my family,” Maddox said.

The school district confirmed the incident.

“The student has been disciplined according to our district code of conduct,” Cameron Bell, a spokesperson for Jeffco Public Schools, told KDVR. “We do not speak about specific student discipline issues due to confidentiality. Anything else is a law enforcement issue.”

Maddox’s parents feel the suspension is unjustified.

“We are not saying it was appropriate that he do it. What we are saying is that it is a gross overreaction,” said Justin Blow. “Maddox is a gifted student who loved school who now distrusts his teachers and the administration at the school. That’s going to be an issue for us.”