Cops, Secret Service Called on 10-Year-Old Maryland Boy over Play Money
An outraged mother launched a petition to shed light on the issue of "over-policing" after her son was questioned by the Secret Service for bringing play money to school. "I just don't understand," she said.
The mother of a 10-year-old boy from Maryland is outraged after her son’s school called the police on him for possessing play money.
"Who at Montgomery County Public Schools decided this was an offense that was of such a possible imminent danger to others that a call to law enforcement had to be made, instead of a call to mom?” https://t.co/VjoMNtx61b— Bethesda Beat (@BethesdaBeat) June 10, 2019
MOM WRITES PETITION ABOUT "OVER-POLICING" PLAY MONEY
Tiffany Kelly, whose fourth-grader goes to Montgomery County Public School has launched a petition which raises the issue of “over-policing” of her non-white son.
According to her in a letter she attached to her petition on change.org, her son purchased play money from Amazon to assist him in learning how to count. On May 14, 2019, he brought the money to school and decided to share his excitement by handing them out to his bus mates. It was “an attempt for socialization, something he struggles with,” said his mother who reveals her son has disabilities. She also described the money as evidently for play seeing it had bright pink Asian symbols and dotted lines.
ON THE SCHOOL'S "OUTRAGEOUS" REACTION
To Kelly’s surprise, she learned at the end of the day that the police and the Secret Service had been involved in questioning her son about the play money. One of the bills was reportedly discovered at the bus depot and upon viewing bus video footage, someone decided to alert authorities, a reaction she described as “outrageous.”
“I just don't understand,” Kelly wrotein her letter. “I reviewed the disciplinary policy on Montgomery County Public School’s website; it makes no mention of what happens even if someone does indeed possess money that could be considered counterfeit.”
WOW: A young Black boy brought toy money to school in Maryland, and he was questioned by police after school officials called them in!https://t.co/Z5Ilfwt54K— theGrio.com (@theGrio) June 12, 2019
Kelly’s son was questioned in school without her knowledge and this for her was unacceptable. She only learned about the incident at 4 pm when a police officer reached her.
“I just don't understand,” Kelly wrote in her letter. “I reviewed the disciplinary policy on Montgomery County Public School’s website; it makes no mention of what happens even if someone does indeed possess money that could be considered counterfeit.”
She adds, “Nothing illegal occurred; who at Montgomery County Public Schools decided this was an offense that was of such a possible imminent danger to others that a call to law enforcement had to be made, instead of a call to mom?”
“You are contributing to the over-policing of minority children. All children do the same things, but non-white children are subject to harsher disciplinary measures.”
A Maryland mother wants to know why police were called on her 10-year-old son after he brought play money on the school bus. https://t.co/jNLa0LW8sL— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) June 12, 2019
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Kelly further states she was “completely disregarded” as her son’s parent and questions why her son was interrogated without her presence. More importantly, she finds no reason why the incident had to take place at all.
“Kids play with fake money. It's even used as an educational tool,” she reasons.
She then addresses the school to say that this should never happen again.
“You are contributing to the over-policing of minority children. All children do the same things, but non-white children are subject to harsher disciplinary measures,” she said.
At the end of her letter, Kelly writes, “Boys can be boys; unless you are non-white. Then, the rules change.”
She likewise expressed her disappointment of Montgomery County which she thought rallied for racial equality.
“There were some clear missteps on our part and we are working to ensure the process is clear moving forward for staff and that incidents like this do not happen again.”
Tiffany Kelley is complaining about “overpolicing” of minorities and people with disabilities. Her son a 4th grader @MCPS was questioned by police after bringing play money to school. Someone found what they thought was a counterfeit bill on his bus. #News4 @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/ukiPbawfE6— Chris Gordon (@ChrisGordonNews) June 11, 2019
SCHOOL SYSTEM RECOGNIZES "MISSTEPS"
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the school system addressed Kelly’s concerns in a statement sent to NBC News. The statement said that though it is standard school policy for authorities to be informed upon establishing proof that a student used counterfeit money to purchase something in the campus, “the police should not have been called” in Kelly’s son’s case.
“There were some clear missteps on our part and we are working to ensure the process is clear moving forward for staff and that incidents like this do not happen again,” it further stated.
As for the Montgomery Police, it maintains this was not a case of racial profiling.
Kelly has since spoken to officials and hopes this situation curtails future incidences like the one she found her son in.
Montgomery Co school officials say police should not have been called on a 10-year-old who brought play money on the school bus https://t.co/SOngS5ySoi— Lindsay Watts (@LindsayAWatts) June 12, 2019
HONOR STUDENT SUSPENDED DUE TO COUNTERFEIT MONEY
This is not the first time the issue of counterfeit money in school made headlines. Earlier this year, another black student was gravely punished after he mistakenly used a fake bill to purchase his lunch.
12-year-old Christian Philon, a straight-A honor student at Henry Country was suspended after he issued a $20 bill in his school's cafeteria and it turned out to be fake. He was not aware the allowance his father gave him was counterfeit. His father claimed he received the money as change from a fast food restaurant and only realized after his son was caught that it was fake. Though Christian's parents filed a police report about the counterfeit money in the hope that their son's name would be cleared, Christian's suspension was not revoked.