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Boy With Disabilities Gave Out Play Money. Cops Got Involved

Boy, 10, is also black; mother blames 'over-policing of minority children'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2019 6:24 PM CDT
Updated Jun 14, 2019 1:10 AM CDT
Not the bill that was used.   (Getty Images / sanchesnet1)

(Newser) – A 10-year-old black boy with disabilities was passing out pretend money on his Maryland school bus—and ended up questioned by police. The cops were called after one of the fake $100 bills was found at the bus depot May 14 and video from the bus was reviewed, the fourth-grader's mom, Tiffany Kelly, wrote on a Change.org petition. "He is excited about money and learning to count 'his money,'" Kelly explained on the petition. "In an attempt for socialization, something he struggles with, he passed it out on the school bus to his peers. 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." She says after the toy money was found, the Secret Service was also called. She tells WRC-TV the school said its policy is to call police if a student is attempting to use counterfeit money.

Kelly tells NBC News she does not know how long her son was questioned, but says she did not learn what was going on until a police officer called her at 4pm. "She further let me know that fake/play/counterfeit money is not illegal unless someone tries to spend it; he absolutely did not," Kelly writes on the petition, adding to NBC: "By her own admission, no crime had been committed. At what point do officers determine that a law has not been broken and they move on?" She accuses Montgomery County Public Schools and the Montgomery County Police Department of "contributing to the over-policing of minority children." And that's not all: "We know policing in this country looks different for those that are suffering with mental illness, a disability, or is a person of color. Which target was it here?" (Parents fume after kids aged 6 and up are arrested.)

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