ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A controversy continues in Anne Arundel County. School leaders are defending their decision to keep a suspension on the record of a seven-year-old boy. He got in trouble for chewing a pastry into the shape of a gun and threatening other students.
Rick Ritter has more on the passionate arguments on both sides.
The attorney for Joshua Welch’s family tells WJZ the boy learned his lesson and there’s no reason why the suspension should remain on his record. But school officials argue the incident was just a final straw in a history of bad behavior.
The world’s most controversial pastry–one that’s ripped through national headlines.
“It’s been like standing under Niagara Falls for a long time,” said Robin Ficker, attorney for Welch family. “After awhile, it starts getting to you.”
In March, 2013, Park Elementary School suspended second-grader Joshua Welch for chewing his breakfast pastry into a pretend gun, threatening other students.
Outraged by the punishment, his parents demanded the district erase the suspension from his record.
“I don’t see a reason for it to be there. And that’s been my goal from day one,” his father, William Welch, said.
But the school administration isn’t backing down, standing by their decision.
“This has never been about a gun, this has never been about a single incident,” said Bob Mosier, Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
School officials say Welch’s behavior was not a one-time deal. They say he was involved in 20 documented incidents before he was even suspended.
“And even Josh in his own testimony acknowledges that it’s not about a gun, it’s about his ongoing behavior,” said Mosier.
At a hearing Wednesday, cameras weren’t allowed inside, but talks got heated as both sides pleaded their case.
“It’s not that big a deal to let it go,” Ficker said.
It’s a controversy that will continue if the Welches don’t come out on top.
“We’re going to go to the state courts, we’re going to go to the courts,” said Ficker.
No decision was made Wednesday. School officials say they’re unsure when the board will make a final decision.
Joshua Welch is now a fourth-grader. His parents moved him from Park Elementary and transferred him to another school.
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