Henry County

10-year-old boy permanently expelled for bringing ‘poppers' to school

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — The mother of a 10-year-old said her son has been permanently expelled from a local school district for popping noisemakers. Now she wants that decision overturned.

The school district is calling the poppers an explosive compound and told Channel 2's Tom Jones that permanent expulsion is the punishment for bringing them to school.

The mother of the fourth grader told Jones the poppers are a toy that wouldn't hurt a fly.

“I can pop it in my hand. It doesn't harm you, it doesn’t hurt you. It makes a noise,” said the mother, asking to be identified only as Noelle. “They don't even make a spark. They just make a noise. They're just a noise.”

“You don't think they're dangerous?” Jones asked Noelle.

“No, not at all,” the mother said.

The Henry County School System doesn't see it that way. The district permanently expelled her 10-year-old son after he popped the noisemakers at a bus stop in his McDonough neighborhood and then took the three poppers to Flippen Elementary where he's in the fourth grade.


Noelle said her son didn't know any poppers were still in his book bag.

“He thought he had popped all of them,” she said.

The district said its handbook indicates permanent expulsion is the punishment when a student brings an explosive compound to school.

Noelle said the punishment is too severe.

“He's 10. He had no idea he was doing something wrong,” Noelle said.

She said she has other kids in the district and moving her child will cause her all kinds of problems.

The school system said she can appeal to the school board. Noelle plans to ask the board for some compassion.

She told Jones that the incident has taken a toll on her and her son.

“Mama, what are we going to do next? Are we going to have to move?” Noelle said her son keeps asking. “Like, how am I going to go to school?”

A student told the principal what happened at the bus stop and that's how the school found out.

A hearing officer made the decision to permanently expel the child.