The mother of a South Carolina high school student was left irate when her 16-year-old son was suspended and then arrested after writing that he intended to buy a gun and kill a dinosaur as part of a homework assignment.
Alex Stone, a student at the South Carolina school, said he wrote a joke that included a gun and a dinosaur for a class assignment to write a few sentences about himself and to list a mock Facebook status. The homework was due Tuesday, the second day of the school year.
The teen wrote, “I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur.” For his status, he said, “I bought the gun to take care of the business.”
The teacher then reported Stone to school administrators, Dorchester District 2 officials said. The principal followed the school system’s procedures, suspending the 16-year-old. This prompted the school’s resource officer to call the Summerville Police Department.
Police searched the student’s locker and backpack, but no weapon was found, the Summerville Post and Courier reported. The “irate” Stone was arrested and charged with disturbing school, police report said.
David Aylor, the family’s attorney, called the arrest "completely absurd," and is seeking to appeal the suspension and "proceed with the legal issues of [Stone's] arrest," according to WCSC.
“This is a perfect example of ‘political correctness' that has exceeded the boundaries of common sense," Aylor said in a statement released on Thursday. "Students were asked to write about themselves and a creative Facebook status update – just days into the new school year – and my client was arrested and suspended after a school assignment."
Stone’s mother, Karen Gray, believed the incident is an example of overreach by the authorities. The Washington Post described her response as “a beautiful reaction.”
"I could understand if they made him re-write it because he did have ‘gun’ in it. But a pet dinosaur?" she said. "I mean first of all, we don't have dinosaurs anymore. Second of all, he's not even old enough to buy a gun."
But authorities said that, while the initial concern was over the boy’s message containing the words “gun” and “take care of business,” the arrest was over his disorderly actions when dealing with police officers.
"The information that is being reported is grossly incorrect in reference to what led to the juvenile being charged," said Capt. Jon Rogers in a Summerville police statement. "The charges do not stem from anything involving a dinosaur or writing assignment, but the student's conduct."
Gray said that the school should have called her before they called the police, which would have avoided the arrest, if not the suspension.
“If the school would have called me and told me about the paper and asked me to come down and discussed everything and, at least, get his point-of-view on the way he meant it. I never heard from the school, never. They never called me," said Gray.
Stone and his mother acknowledged the sensitive nature of what he wrote, but they said it was a rash reaction to an innocent situation, according to WCSC.
"I regret it because they put it on my record, but I don't see the harm in it," Stone said."I think there might have been a better way of putting it, but I think me writing like that, it shouldn't matter unless I put it out towards a person."
As for the prehistoric beast? “No word on the condition, existence or species of the dinosaur,” the Post concluded.