(Memphis) Six boys, all in the fifth grade, have been suspended from a south Memphis elementary after being accused of being in a gang.
Shelby County Schools say all of them were told to stay away from Westwood Elementary for 130 days.
One student’s father said his son was forced into a confession.
Kevin Shannon said his 10-year-old son doesn’t even hang out with the alleged gang members, and the only time they could possibly interact is on their walk home from school.
“My son is not in a gang,” said Shannon. “He hates to see a dog get hurt. He wouldn’t hurt a flea.”
Shelby County Schools has labeled the 10-year-old a danger, saying Kevin, Jr., confessed to being in a gang after the school’s gang unit questioned a group of kids caught up in a fight after school.
“The leader of the so-called gang wrote down who was all in it and what their codes were and what would happened if you were put in violation,” said Shannon. “He named my son as one of the people.”
Westwood suspended six 10-year-olds for the rest of the school year.
Shannon says his son confessed to being part of the gang out of fear after being interrogated by authorities.
“He said something like, ‘Tell your father what you told us’. The only thing he could say was you ‘I told them I was in it.’ But keep in mind he’s only 10-years-old.”
Shelby County Schools, however, says the suspension wasn’t based on a confession or what the leader of the so-called gang said, but the fact other children pointed to Shannon’s son as being part of this group and being involved in fights on-and-off campus.
Shannon says his son has never been in trouble and he’s appealing the decision.
“He’s a bright kid. He’s very intelligent. I wish you he was here now so you could see the character that he has.”
If Shannon doesn’t win his appeal, Shelby County Schools says his son can still finish the school year at an alternative school.