CRIME
10/18/2013 01:21 pm ET | Updated Oct 18, 2013

Rhett Parham, Autistic Boy, Suspended Over Cartoon Drawing Of Bomb

An autistic middle school student who drew a picture based off his favorite video game has been suspended.

Rhett Parham, a 13-year-old who attends Hillcrest Middle School in Greenville, S.C., just wanted to share his artwork, his mother claims. Instead, he was taken out of school Monday, WBTW reports.

Rhett drew a picture of a cartoon bomb, based off his favorite video game, Bomberman 64, a '90s Nintendo 64 game. Rhett told WBTW he likes to watch videos of the game on YouTube and draw pictures based off it.

The boy told classmates he had a "bomb" and showed them the drawing. One of the students then went to school officials to complain, WYFF reported.

His mother, Amy Parham, said she doesn't understand why her child was suspended.

"I'm angry. I'm upset and I'm incredulous, honestly, that a child could come in and bring a drawing and that's somehow perceived as a threat -- especially someone with special needs who really doesn't filter information the same way that typical children do," Parham said.

The school released a statement defending the decision.

“This investigation began when threatening comments were made, resulting in the responsible removal of the student from the school to ensure everyone's safety while the incident and intent were assessed.”

Parham said her son poses no threat, nor can he make a bomb.

“I don't really think he understands the brevity of this whole situation because of his disability,” she said.

Though his mother said she was looking into possibly transferring her son to a different school, Rhett said he wants to stay.

“I like the school and it's great," he said. "And I like school at Hillcrest Middle."

Zero tolerance policies in schools have led to unpopular suspensions in the past.

An 8-year-old boy in Florida, Jordan Bennett, was suspended from school for playing cops and robbers with friends and pointing his finger like a gun in September.

Also in September, seventh graders Aidan Clark and Khalid Caraballo from Virginia were suspended for playing with toy air soft guns, despite not actually being at school. The boys have been suspended for a full year.

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