Body cam footage shows officers responding to JeffCo boy’s home for playing with airsoft gun during Zoom class

Problem Solvers

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) — The 11-year-old suspended from school for playing with his airsoft gun during a school Zoom session said he is back in class, but he will not be turning on his laptop camera while he is learning.

“A lot of my teachers wanted my camera on,” said Maddox Blow, a sixth grader at Bell Middle School in Golden. “Some of them even said that if I didn’t turn it on, it would probably affect my work habit grade.”

Justin Blow, Maddox’s father said he does not believe the school needs to see inside his son’s room during the school day.

“We’re not comfortable with them looking into his bedroom. What other rules are they going to try to enforce?” he said.

Maddox served a four-day suspension after a teacher – who was reviewing her recorded class session – discovered that Maddox had been handling his airsoft weapon during her class hours earlier.

Jeffco Public School’s chief legal counsel said schools can record Zoom sessions without a parent’s permission.

“Teachers may choose to record a class for a variety of reasons – could be for students who were unable to attend the live online class to watch later, could be in order to capture student participation and for grading, could be for their own professional growth and practice, could be to reinforce the lesson later, to name a few examples,” said Cameron Bell, a spokesperson for the district.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers obtained the police dispatch reports showing how a security officer first reported the incident to police.

“Student was loading a gun on a Zoom meeting with teacher,” the report said. Later, the report says, “Officer Hall was able to enlarge a photograph of the gun…and he said he observed an orange tip and the gun appeared to be a toy gun.”

Despite this information, two police officers still visited the Blow’s Wheat Ridge household to check Maddox’s welfare and examine and photograph the gun.

An officer can be heard telling Maddox, “it wasn’t until after the fact that the officer blew it up and could see the orange tip, but at first everybody thought it was real.”

Officers consulted with Maddox in his driveway, and one officer accompanied his mother, Julie Adams-Blow, to her front door, where she allowed the officer to photograph the airsoft gun.

“As long as it’s not a real gun, you’re not in trouble with the police,” one officer told Maddox. “Now with the school, they’re going to talk to your parents, and that will be different.”

The officers told Maddox that they wanted to make sure that he was not going to hurt himself and he didn’t have plans to hurt others.

Jeffco Public Schools told the Problem Solvers that the school’s code of conduct warns students of disciplinary procedures:

“By registering for and attending school, students agree to adhere to the Code of Conduct and any disciplinary consequences that apply to violations of the code of conduct,” said Bell. “Our Restart Plan has said from the very beginning last spring that our Code of Conduct and board policies apply no matter the learning environment. Additionally, our educators have gone over remote learning expectations with students in their class, which include reminding them they are in class, they must pay attention and engage in the lesson, and distractions like toys are not allowed, just like if they were in an in-person learning environment – toys would not be allowed in that setting; the remote classroom is no different. District policy outlines that a student may be disciplined for actions that cause disruption to the learning environment.”

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