TheGrio has launched a special series called #BlackonBlue to examine the relationship between law enforcement and African-Americans. Our reporters and videographers will investigate police brutality and corruption while also exploring local and national efforts to improve policing in our communities. Join the conversation, or share your own story, using the hashtag #BlackonBlue.
A mother of a student in a Montgomery County Public School in Maryland is outraged that police and school officials were called on her 10-year-old son for handing out play money to his friends on a school bus.
The fake cash was toy money bought from Amazon, the boy’s mother Tiffany Kelly told reporters. Now Kelly has started a Change.org petition about the overzealous response saying her son was the victim of “over-policing,”
“On May 14, 2019, my son took play money to school (purchased from Amazon). He is excited about money and learning to count ‘his money.’ In an attempt for socialization, something he struggles with, he passed it out on the school bus to his peers,” she wrote. “The money has bright pink Asian symbols on the front and back, along with dotted lines, so that it can be distinguished as play money.”
One of the fake bills was found on the school bus. School officials reviewed the footage from the bus and discovered that the money belonged to Kelly’s son. The police were called. In response, the 10-year-old was questioned by authorities but Kelly is upset she wasn’t made aware of the situation.
“The police came to the school to question my son. They also called the Secret Service,” she wrote. “Outrageous.”
Tiffany Kelley is complaining about “overpolicing” of minorities and people with disabilities. Her son a 4th grader @MCPS was questioned by police after bringing play money to school. Someone found what they thought was a counterfeit bill on his bus. #News4 @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/ukiPbawfE6
— Chris Gordon (@ChrisGordonNews) June 11, 2019
“It is not fair to believe that a person of color has committed a crime, Kelly told NBC4. “I do not believe it would have happened to someone had they not been a minority.”
According to Kelly, the Montgomery County public school system told her that it was standard practice for police to be called if there is suspicion a student is possibly using counterfeit money.
Montgomery County police maintains that racial profiling did not play a role in this case.