PEORIA — The father of a Washington Community High School freshman says the punishment should fit the crime and his son didn't deserve a suspension and a yearlong ban from events due to a misunderstanding over song lyrics perceived as a threat.
"The punishment is too much for the supposed crime. He has to go all year without any extracurricular activity," said Brandon Porter of his son, a week after he was suspended for allegedly uttering threats toward students and the school. "Then it's on his record, and what college is going to accept him now? This is on his record, that he was a threat to the school and to the student, who will accept him?"
The incident happened on Sept. 11, when a female student overheard Porter's son singing a song. What happened next is disputed. The girl thought she heard the boy singing about having an "AK," referring to a type of assault weapon in a book bag. Porter says no, that his son was singing a song called "Draco" by the rap artist Future. And the line, Porter says, is "Draco season with the book bag."
The girl heard Porter's son while in the hallway and reported it to school. In a letter, the district said the action was deemed as a "threat against school safety." He was notified that he would serve three days out of school and three days of in-school suspension, the father said. The teen would be barred from all dances for the rest of the year. Porter says that's too harsh a punishment for a simple misunderstanding.
"My son is traumatized by this. He doesn't want to continue to go to this school, and he has just begun. My son is a bi-racial student in a predominantly Caucasian school, and unfortunately my son is the one that feels targeted by the color of his skin," the mother wrote in a post on Facebook.
Porter said they have appealed to the school board but haven't had a date set for a hearing to review the matter. Superintendent Kyle Freeman said he can't legally comment on the situation because of student privacy laws.
Steve Stein contributed to this story.