ALEXANDRIA, VA -- The Alexandria branch of the NAACP is criticizing the Feb. 5 arrest of a 10-year-old Douglas MacArthur Elementary School student for an incident involving a toy gun, calling it “senseless” and “insensitive” in a statement sent to Patch Sunday evening because “by all accounts, everyone knew” the toy wasn't a weapon.
Branch President James Williams and Vice President Jacqueline Johnson said they plan to meet with Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Morton Sherman to address the incident and how it was handled. The student is African American.
• See Patch’s previous coverage on gun laws: Biden in Richmond "We Cannot Remain Silent on Guns"
“While we are sensitive to and share in the legitimate safety concerns parents and school officials have over the safety and well-being of our children, this incident clearly shows the ‘adults’ involved acted without due regard to basic common sense,” the statement reads. “We expect more from those to whom we entrust our children’s future and educational needs. Subjecting any child, and especially an African American child, to arrest and a possible criminal record over a toy is foolish and insulting to our community.”
Nakicha Gilbert, the 10-year-old student’s mother, and others criticized the case’s handling in a story last week in The Washington Post.
• See Patch’s previous story: Mother of ACPS Student Arrested for Toy Gun Incident Criticizes Case's Handling
Alexandria City Public Schools officials have said they were following local policies and state laws following notification of the Feb. 4 incident, which occurred on a school bus.
Jackie Surratt, chair of the Alexandria chapter of the NAACP’s community coordination committee, told Patch last week, at Gilbert’s request, he participated in a “fact-finding session” with ACPS Superintendent Morton Sherman’s staff about the incident.
“After all is said and done, it was a terrible mishandling,” Surratt said.
• See Patch's previous story: MacArthur Student Handed Weapons Charge Following Toy Gun Incident