‘Terrorist’ Jackson Riley was sent home from Great Valley Charter School in Modesto, California on August 31, having told a teacher that if he removed his backpack it would explode.
Riley's parents told local media station KTXL that they initially received a letter saying their son was suspended for his intent to “threaten, intimidate or harass others.” However, the letter stated that the boy had violated a school code that only applies to students in grades four through 12.
Great Valley Charter then allegedly changed the letter and accused Riley of making “terroristic threats towards school officials.”
“So, they look in his backpack, and my son’s five years old; obviously there’s no bomb in my kid’s backpack,” Jackson's father, Ian, said. “They called me at work and said, ‘There’s been an incident at the school.’ They told me everything that my son said, and they said, ‘You need to come pick your son up, and this is going to be a one-day suspension.’”
“He said he couldn’t take his backpack off because it would explode, meaning he doesn’t want anybody to get hurt, so I mean, granted, it’s all in the world of pretend-play, and we’re talking about an imaginary bomb. But where was the threat? We still haven’t really received a clear answer to that,” his mother Michelle added.
In a statement seen by KTXL, the school said they could not comment on the case but that they take “student safety and discipline very seriously.”
Jackson’s parents say they want to put the incident behind them and don’t want it to scar their boy’s permanent record.
“He’s five. He has an imagination. We just want what’s right is right, and what’s right in this instance is for our child to not have a permanent mark on his record because of this,” his father said.