In a country where the right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution, the anxiety surrounding gun-like toys has always seemed strange – especially when the toy gun is clearly a brightly-colored plastic toy that hardly resembles a real firearm.
And now, a Colorado middle schooler has been suspended from school for briefly holding a toy gun at his home, nowhere near his actual school, while logged into his virtual class.
Isaiah Elliott, 12, is a student at Grand Mountain K8, a grade school just south of Colorado Springs.
On Thursday, Aug. 27, the seventh grader was sitting at his computer attending his online art class when his teacher briefly saw a neon green and black handgun flash across the screen. The orange-tipped toy had the words “Zombie Hunter” printed on the side.
The teacher quickly notified a school administrator, who suspended the boy for five days and called the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a welfare check on the child without so much as notifying his parents.
“It was really frightening and upsetting for me as a parent, especially as the parent of an African-American young man, especially given what’s going on in our country right now,” said the boy’s father, Curtis Elliott, in an interview with KDVR.
According to the sheriff’s report, the art teacher “said she assumed it was a toy gun but was not certain.” In recorded footage from the class held on Zoom, Isaiah can be seen flashing the toy across the screen “for maybe one or two seconds at the most.”
Isaiah is also traumatized after sheriff’s deputies told him that his behavior could have led to criminal charges, the parents say. The Elliotts now plan on transferring him to another school.
“It would’ve been a lot easier for me to understand if my son had made a threat,” said Isaiah’s mother, Danielle Elliott, who is furious over her son’s ordeal.
“For them to go as extreme as suspending him for five days, sending the police out, having the police threaten to press charges against him because they want to compare the virtual environment to the actual in-school environment is insane,” she explained.
“If her main concern was his safety, a two-minute phone call to me or my husband could easily have alleviated this whole situation to where I told them it was fake,” Danielle Elliott added.
The parents also weren’t allowed to view the video recording of the incident, which district officials refused to disclose following their requests.
A sheriff’s deputy, however, showed the boy’s father the footage that he had recorded with his body-worn camera. In the footage, Isaiah Elliott can be seen momentarily lifting the toy that was sitting at his right side and moving it to his left side, inadvertently flashing the toy in front of his camera.
He was clearly not brandishing the toy gun or even attempting to show it to his virtual classmates, Curtis Elliott said. The parents maintain that the response was entirely disproportionate to the supposed offense – especially when the school involved police in the matter.
“He was in tears when the cops came. He was just in tears. He was scared. We all were scared. I literally was scared for his life,” said Curtis Elliott. “The virtual setting is not the same as the school setting … He did not take the toy gun to school. He’s in the comfort of his own home. It’s a toy.”
The parents still shudder at the thought of law enforcement officers potentially overreacting to the possibility of a young Black boy wielding a firearm.
“I definitely feel they crossed the line,” said Danielle Elliott. “They were extreme with their punishment, especially sending the police out and traumatizing my son and my family.”
“Especially with the current events, with Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy getting killed over a toy gun, you know these things are very scary and they’re very real,” she told KOAA in a separate interview. “This is not the first time my son has faced racism or discrimination or anything like that.”
The school district is now being inundated on social media by critical comments over the matter. The district has denied its response was driven by racial discrimination but admits that it recorded the virtual class without parental consent.
“We follow all school board policies whether we are in-person learning or distance learning,” the district said in a statement. “We take the safety of all our students and staff very seriously. Safety is always our number one priority.”
Video Showing UFOs Swarming Navy Warship is Real, Pentagon Confirms
Late last month, reports emerged that a number of U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers sailing off the coast near Los Angeles encountered a swarm of strange unidentified flying objects or drones in 2019. While Navy investigators looked into the strange incident, no explanation has since been given.
However, new footage has been leaked to documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell that shows the strange flying objects swarming above one of the ships, and the Pentagon has confirmed that the videos are authentic.
“I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel,” a Department of Defense spokesperson told Futurism.
In the brief footage, which appears to have been recorded with night vision cameras, triangular or pyramid-shaped objects can be seen hovering above the deck of a Navy destroyer.
According to Corbell, the Pentagon has gone to great lengths to disavow any connection to the swarming UAVs.
“This was taken on deployment from the USS Russell,” Corbell told Mystery Wire. “It shows what they described as vehicles. And they made a great distinction. They made sure in this classified briefing, they made a great distinction that this is not something that we own either a black project, this is not something of a foreign military, that these were behaving in ways that we did not expect.“
“And that they were you know shaped non aerodynamically,” he added. “Like pyramids, these are flying pyramids!”
The video, as well as a number of photos from the incident, have all been gathered by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, a group tasked with investigating encounters between the different service branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and a number of unidentified flying objects.
While officials have been baffled by the unknown flying objects, in recent years the Pentagon has been more vocal about past encounters, which they describe as having been frequent. Officials have also discouraged the use of the acronym “UFOs,” instead opting to describe them as unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs.
Prince Philip Joke About Reincarnating as Deadly Virus to ‘Solve Overpopulation’ Resurfaces
The Friday announcement of the death of Prince Philip elicited a range of reactions on social media, with some users eulogizing the late royal while others used the occasion to heap mockery upon the British monarchy.
However, others also shared an old quote from the Prince Philip where he bizarrely suggested that after he died, his wish would be that he is reincarnated as a deadly virus in order to help solve the so-called problem of overpopulation.
The decidedly anti-social quote was taken from a 2009 article published by The Guardian that listed out a number of controversial and generally distasteful quotes from the Queen’s husband on various subjects.
The full quote read: “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.”
Tweeting a screenshot of the quote, user Riya said: “WHAT THE F*CK.”
While others replied to the misanthropic quote with a reference to the ongoing pandemic:
The Daily Express notes that the quote originates from a joking comment about deadly viruses that the prince made in a 1988 interview with Deutsche Press-Agentur. The quote was also widely shared during the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Buckingham Palace announced the death of Prince Philip, royal consort to Queen Elizabeth II, on Friday morning.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the announcement read. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
As Marine Life Flees the Equator, Global Mass Extinction is Imminent: Scientists
The waters surrounding the equator are one of the most biodiverse areas in the globe, with the tropical area rich in marine life including rare sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, and other creatures.
However, rampant rises in temperate have led to a mass exodus of marine species from the sensitive region – with grave implications for life on earth.
While ecologists have long seen the thriving biodiversity of equatorial species holding constant in the past few centuries, a new study by Australian researchers published in The Conversation has found that warming global temperatures are now hitting the equator hard, potentially leading to an unprecedented mass extinction event.
The researchers from the Universities of Auckland, Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast found that as waters surrounding the equator continue to heat up, the ecosystem is being disrupted and forcing species to flee toward the cooler water of the South and North Pole.
The massive changes in marine ecosystems that this entails will have a grave impact not only on ocean life – essentially becoming invasive species in their new homes – but also on the human livelihoods that depend on it.
“When the same thing happened 252 million years ago, 90 percent of all marine species died,” the researchers wrote.
To see where marine life is headed, the researchers tracked the distribution of about 49,000 different species to see what their trajectory was. The global distribution of ocean life typically resembles a bell curve, with far fewer species near the poles and more near the equator.
However, the vast alteration of the curve is already in motion as creatures flee to the poles, according to a study they published in the journal PNAS.
These changes augur major disruptions to global ecosystem as marine life scrambles in a chaotic fight for food, space, and resources – with a mass die-off and extinction of creatures likely resulting.
The research underscores the dire need for human societies to control rampant climate change before the biodiversity and ecological health of the planet is pushed past the point of no return.
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