Fifth grader punished for starting 'backpack petition' - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Fifth grader punished for starting 'backpack petition'

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(CNN) -

One mother is angry with her daughter's school district after she said the fifth grader was punished for starting a petition.

At Southwest Middle School, in Arkansas, teachers come up with their own individual classroom rules.

For fifth grader Faeth McLemore, that meant she couldn't use her backpack.

"Why not? I mean, they spent money to get me it and, like, everyone else gets to use it but our two classes don't,” McLemore said.

On Friday, she turned to petitioning the “Backpack Usage Form,” which said “We the students of Mrs. Parrott's class would like to start using our backpacks all day long starting immediately.”

It requests a student and parent signature and the date.

On Monday the petition landed McLemore three lunch detentions, according to her mom.

"She got punished not really knowing why. They kind of stated that she was supposed to have permission when there was nothing really saying anywhere in the handbook where she was supposed to go do such things,” McLemore's mom Candice Smith said.

According to the school's handbook, students are free to sign petitions.

It also states that the principal of the individual schools shall have the responsibility of providing a central location where petitions may be signed, but nowhere does it list a chain of commands.

"I didn't feel like she was in the wrong. I mean the child wanted to use her backpack like everybody else,” Smith said.

Instead of detention, McLemore has to write a letter explaining what she learned.

Throughout this whole experience she said she has learned "That I have to keep fighting. If someone pushes me down, just get back up."

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