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5-year-old suspended from school for making ‘terrorist threats’

MODESTO, Calif. -- The parents of a 5-year-old California boy are upset after their son was suspended for a day after refusing to take off his backpack and making "terrorist threats," according to KTXL.

Officials at Great Valley Charter School said Jackson Riley apparently told his teacher there was a bomb inside his backpack.

“So, they look in his backpack, and my son’s 5 years old; obviously there’s no bomb in my kid’s backpack," Jackson's father said. "They called me at work and said, ‘There’s been an incident at the school.’ They told me everything that my son said, and they said, ‘You need to come pick your son up, and this is going to be a one-day suspension,’”

The school sent a letter to Jackson's parents saying he was suspended for his intent to “intentionally engaged in harassment, threats or intimidation.”

Administrators later changed the letter to apply to a school code that said he made "terrorist threats," but that code only applies to students in 4th through 12th grades.

“He said he couldn’t take his backpack off because it would explode, meaning he doesn’t want anybody to get hurt, so I mean, granted, it’s all in the world of pretend-play, and we’re talking about an imaginary bomb. But where was the threat? We still haven’t really received a clear answer to that,” Jackson’s mother said.

The school said in a statement on Tuesday they could not discuss the specific case but that they take “student safety and discipline very seriously.”

“He was sent home, and he understands you can’t say ‘bomb’ at school. But he really doesn’t understand what the threat is,” Jackson’s mother said.

Jackson’s parents say they want the suspension removed from his permanent record.

“He’s 5. He has an imagination. We just want what’s right is right, and what’s right in this instance is for our child to not have a permanent mark on his record because of this,” Jackson’s father said.