Todd Starnes

An 11-year-old boy who hopes to become a Navy SEAL was suspended from a Maryland school after he used the word ‘gun’ in a conversation on board a school bus.

The sixth-grader at Northern Middle School in Owings was talking with a group of friends about the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre when the bus driver overheard the conversation.

“He said, ‘I wish I had a gun to protect everyone from the bad guys,’’ said Bruce Henkelman, the boy’s father. “He wanted to be the hero.”

Henkelman told Fox News that his son was interrogated by the principal and a deputy sheriff – without their knowledge or permission.

“The principal told me if you say the word gun in my school – you will face a ten day suspension,” he said.

The incident happened just after the Sandy Hook shootings. Henkleman said he finally decided to speak out after a 5-year-old boy in their county was suspended for 10 days after he brought a toy cap gun onto a school bus.

Since the incident happened a day before winter break, the principal reduced the suspension to one day. But the family was ordered to complete an ‘intrusive’ four page questionnaire and the deputy sheriff said he would have to search their home --- without a warrant.

“But he was emphasizing that it warranted a 10-day suspension,” he said.

Robin Welsh, the deputy superintendent for school system, confirmed to Fox News that the incident occurred. She also said there was misinformation about the case. However, she declined to go into any details citing federal and local confidentiality laws.

Welsh did point out that the principal of the middle school did nothing wrong.

“The principal followed our policies and procedures and absolutely did handle it in an appropriate manner,” she said.

Henkelman told Fox News that he is outraged over his son’s treatment at the hands of the school.

“I keep telling him that he did nothing wrong,” he said. “At the very least the principal owes him an apology. Our personal rights were violated.”

Henkelman, a retired Navy veteran, said his son is an honors student who pitches for the local baseball team. And the boy wants to be a Navy SEAL.

“That’s the context of the comments he made on the bus,” he said. “He wants to be a hero.”

“He’s infatuated with the Navy SEALS,” he said. “He thinks they’re great – how they go and save the world. The context was to protect people just like the police department does with their guns.”

After Henkelman picked up his son from school, the deputy sheriff said he would need to search their home.


Todd Starnes

Todd Starnes is the host of Fox News & Commentary – heard daily on 250+ radio stations. He’s also the author of “Dispatches From Bitter America.” To check out all of his work you can visit his website or follow him on Twitter @toddstarnes. In his spare time, Todd is active in his church, plays golf, follows SEC football, and eats barbecue. He lives in New York City.