Purestock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- NASA engineers are working to troubleshoot a cooling system failure on the International Space Station. One of the cooling systems on the ISS has been shut down because of temperature fluctuations, cutting the artificial satellite's cooling ability in half.
"What appears to be the flow control valve inside one of our pump units got a little cold earlier today and there was an automatic shutdown," explained Kelly Humphries of Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
There are six people onboard the International Space Station and they're all doing fine, Humphries told ABC News Wednesday.
"Two Americans, one Japanese astronaut and three Russian cosmonauts" are onboard the space station, he said.
While Humphries said there is no immediate danger for the astronauts and that they do not need to come home, he added that engineers are still looking at the data and trying to understand what happened. They're preparing to do some additional troubleshooting, but the engineers do not expect their investigation will threaten the safety of the six onboard. Shutting down the modules -- Kibo, Columbus and Harmony -- means that the six astronauts will have to stay in the other modules for now, NASA said.
Officials don't know yet whether the problem resulted from a software glitch or involves hardware, so it's unclear whether a space walk will be needed to resolve the issue.
A photo of George Huguely taken by a family friend. (Obtained by ABC News)(RICHMOND, Va.) -- The future of former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V, convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, is now in the hands of a three-judge panel.
The panel of judges must unanimously decide if there are grounds for a new trial. If they decide against a new trial, Huguely will have to serve out the rest of his 23-year prison sentence. Their decision is expected in two to four weeks.
Huguely was convicted of killing ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love, 22, in a drunken rage in May 2010 just weeks before she was to graduate from the University of Virginia. Both Huguely and Love were star lacrosse players on the university's elite teams.
"This was one of the most sensationalized cases in Charlottesville and in that context, this case should have been made more fair, clear and balanced," Huguely's attorney, Paul Clement, said in a Richmond state appeals court Wednesday.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors spent nearly an hour Wednesday debating whether Huguely's rights had been violated in his original trial.
Huguely, 26, was not in the courtroom, but his family, including his parents, grandmother, aunt and sister, were all in court to support him. The hearing was moved into the state supreme court building to accommodate all of the people who came.
"Our family has faith in the legal system and looks forward to the Court of Appeals' decision," Huguely's mother, Marta Murphy, said in a statement. "We love and support George."
Love's family was not present for Wednesday's hearing.
In April, the court granted the appeal on the defense's arguments that Huguely was denied his right to counsel when the trial was forced to proceed despite his lead attorney's illness nine days into the trial. The lawyers also argued that the jury was not fair and impartial.
Prosecutors argued that Huguely's rights were not violated.
"Put simply, the prejudice argument was never presented to the trial court during Huguely's trial so there was no prejudice," an attorney for the state said Wednesday.
Huguely was convicted of second-degree murder and grand larceny in February 2012 for the beating death of Love. He was sentenced to 23 years for murder, plus one concurrent year for the grand larceny conviction in August 2012 for stealing her computer.
Through a 12-day trial in February 2012, jurors listened to testimony from nearly 60 witnesses, saw a video of Huguely's police statement and graphic photos of Love's battered body, and read text and email correspondence between the two.
Though charged with first-degree murder, the judge gave jurors a menu of lesser charges they could choose from: second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Neither the prosecution nor the defense denied that Huguely was in Love's room the night of her death and was involved in an altercation with her. They differed on the severity of the encounter and whether Huguely was directly and intentionally responsible for Love's death.
Over the course of the trial, prosecutors painted a portrait of Huguely as a violent and enraged man who savagely beat Love in her bedroom and left her there to die. Prosecutors claimed that Love died from blunt force trauma to the head.
The defense depicted Huguely as a troubled young man whose problems with alcohol spiraled out of control. They described Huguely and Love's relationship as mutually tempestuous, with both of them jilting and betraying each other. They maintained that Huguely went to Love's bedroom with the intention to talk to her. While things got heated and he pushed her around a bit, he did not do anything severe enough to kill her, his legal team argued.
During deliberations, jurors had the option of looking at evidence from the trial again, including Huguely's videotaped statement to the police hours after Love's death. Huguely said he and Love had wrestled on the floor, but that he never struck her.
Before finding out Love was dead, Huguely told police in his videotaped statement that when he went to see his former girlfriend the night of her death he told her to "chill out" and "shook her a little."
"We were just going to talk," Huguely told the officer in the video. "It was not at all a good conversation."
John Moore/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- In Phoenix, more than 100 veteran inmates have been told they will be moving to a segregated wing of the Maricopa County Jail.
During a press conference Wednesday, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio formally announced his plan to house approximately 150 veteran inmates together, in a housing unit that dons “patriotic décor” and features special behavioral programming aimed at dealing with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD continues to plague military veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan – and for incarcerated veterans, coping with the disorder without the help of friends or family can be even more difficult.
Sheriff Arpaio has called himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” particularly on immigration. In October, a federal judge ordered an independent monitor to oversee Arpaio, after ruling that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office singled out Latinos for detention. Now Sheriff Arpaio says he wants to help veteran inmates dealing with PTSD.
“It is my hope that this program will give you the tools and opportunity to address issues that you are facing in your life and will assist you in getting back on your feet and back to the way of life that you served to protect,” Arpaio wrote in an open letter to the inmates being moved.
Programs like these have popped up across the country in recent years, with veteran inmate wings opening in Georgia and Los Angeles. Phoenix’s program is similar to one implemented more than three years ago in San Francisco County.
At San Francisco’s County Jail Five in the San Bruno Jail Complex, the COVER program (Community of Veterans Engaged in Restoration) has been housing incarcerated veterans together since September 2010.
County sheriff’s office spokesperson Susan Fahey says the 48 veterans in COVER go through intensive programming every day, and she doesn’t hear complaints from inmates saying they don’t want to be there.
“From what I’ve seen, the inmates seem to be very appreciative to have something tailored to them,” Fahey said to ABC News. “It’s based on the core roots of their behavior, and finds out what their triggers are.”
Using sheriff’s department money through a Bureau of Justice Assistance grant, the COVER program utilized a group therapy curriculum named Seeking Safety to address symptoms of PTSD in veteran inmates. That grant expired in September of this year, and they have lost their daily staff member dedicated to the curriculum, although regular psychiatric help is still available.
The COVER program also focuses on providing veteran inmates with resources to fall back on once they’re released. To help provide housing and employment outside of cell walls, San Francisco County works with the area’s No Violence Alliance, a group dedicated to decreasing city violence by rehabilitating ex-offenders.
In San Diego County, a module within one of the jails currently houses 32 veteran inmates, part of a voluntary program aimed at transitioning jailed veterans into the community.
The San Diego program is just short of six weeks old, and so far has reintegrated one veteran into service at Southern California’s Camp Pendleton, something program leaders say can be attributed to the amount of services available to veteran inmates.
“At other jail facilities, programming is based on a wait list,” Capt. Erika Frierson, who’s with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, said to ABC News. “Upon their arrival in the program, veterans undergo a risk and needs assessment to find out what they need to be a successful citizen.” Frierson says that assessment gets veteran inmates the help they need as soon as possible.
In addition to the veteran inmate’s module being “the cleanest one in the entire jail,” San Diego County utilizes a core program called Thinking for a Change, which aims to make sure veteran inmates have an established plan upon release.
“Having a V.A. specialist day-to-day allows us to work closer with the inmates, with the hope they don’t re-offend,” Capt. Frierson said. “Veterans are entitled to more services than the typical citizen who is arrested, so now more veterans are identifying as such because they want to be a part of this.”
Back in Phoenix, Arpaio hopes to use segregated housing as a way to honor veteran inmates’ commitment to service.
“This program is our way of letting you know that we have not forgotten that commitment, despite whatever circumstances in your life have landed you into the custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office,” Arpaio wrote in his open letter.
The program will integrate incarcerated veterans who have been jailed for a wide range of crimes, including aggravated DUI, burglary and aggravated assault.
WFAA-TV(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- Relatives of victims of a drunk-driving crash were angry when the 16-year-old driver charged in the crash was sentenced on Tuesday to 10 years of probation.
The maximum sentence had been 20 years behind bars, according to the Fort Worth 323rd District Court bailiff.
Ethan Couch, 16, had been charged as a juvenile with four counts of intoxication manslaughter.
Youth pastor Brian Jennings, mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles, and Breanna Mitchell died in the June 15 accident, according to ABC News' Dallas/Fort Worth affiliate, WFAA-TV.
The widow of one victim told Couch she forgave him, but Mitchell's mother told WFAA she was "mad" about the sentence, and the brother of a man paralyzed in the accident said the sentence was "not right."
Galveston County Sheriff’s Office(LA MARQUE, Texas) -- The two men started as friends, but one is now in the hospital and the other is in jail.
“I feel like I’m dying,” David Franey Jr., 47, told ABC News. “On a scale of one to 10, I feel about a 12.”
On Dec. 5, officers in La Marque, Texas, found Franey severely beaten, tied up and left unclothed in a ditch, according to La Marque Police Department.
Franey was taken to University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
A construction worker, Franey is on the mend, but said he was still in severe pain. “My leg is broken twice below the knee and twice above the knee. I have a fractured spine and both my rotator cuffs are broke,” he told ABC News.
Franey said he got into an argument with his roommate and co-worker, James Aron Lee, Jr., 31, over a dog and a woman.
Franey and Lee had been living together for three months in Hitchcock, Texas, and split the bills evenly in order to save money. Franey said the attack was unexpected and that he was in complete shock that Lee lashed out on him.
“Knocked me out, tied me up, tried to hang me once or twice. Then he took me out to the woods,” Franey told ABC News affiliate KTRK.
He told KTRK, “That’s a fight for human life, man. You want to get up and go. Then he caught me and he tied me to a tree. I lay there about six or seven hours, I guess, and I could hear the traffic.”
Lee was arrested on Dec. 6 for felony warrants in Hitchcock, Texas. Lee was charged with aggravated assault and unlawful restraint.
ABC News spoke with Lee’s attorney, Stacey Valdez, who said she was recently appointed to the case and therefore not available to comment at this time.
Bond amount was set at $250,000 for each charge. Lee remains in custody with the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- An investigative report released Wednesday into the fatal crash of a Boeing 777 on July 6 reveals that the Asiana Airlines pilot described the approach into the San Francisco International Airport as "very stressful," as he was concerned about trying a visual approach.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot said he did not know why the airpline was so slow and he believed the auto throttle should have come out of idle to prevent the plane from going below minimum speed.
The NTSB also released new video on Wednesday documenting the plane crashing into the runway.
At an NTSB hearing Wednesday, Chair Deborah Hersman said officials are hoping to gain valuable information about the crash, which killed three teenage girls.
"In this hearing, we will learn about the facts of the crash but we will also learn about the factors that enabled so many to walk away," Hersman said. "We do have the opportunity today to ensure that the lessons of this event are well-learned and that the circumstances are not repeated."
The Asiana Airlines crash was the first fatal commercial airliner accident in the United States since 2009.
"Asiana will change the game because the was zero justification for the accident," ABC News aviation consultant John Nance said. "It essentially had nothing to do with being confused about the autothrottle modes...Yes, that was a factor, but a very minor one compared to the real engine of destruction: There were no pilots in the cockpit of that Boeing 777."
Nance added, "There were three systems operators, but they had never had the training nor the experience in just plain flying of an aircraft to qualify them to handle a 777 with the automation turned off... That is not the fault of the three guys on the cockpit, but it is the fault of Asiana and the entire industry in permitting training to be so shallow with respect to basic flying."
iStock/Thinkstock(MILL HALL, Pa.) -- A Pennsylvania teenager is recovering from being mauled by a bear that nearly tore off an ear and left her with deep gashes on her head and arms, her mother told ABC News.
"I covered my eyes and screamed and prayed and hoped everything would be OK," Camille Bomboy told her mother Krista Courter.
Bomboy, 18, was saved from the raging bear by her step-father Michael Courter who fired a rifle into the air to scare off the animal.
"I can't get her scream out of my head," Michael Courter told his wife.
The teen's mom said that when her daughter came home, "She walked into the house and took her jacket off and when she did, she had bite marks on both her arms… She just kept saying my ear, my ear."
In addition to the puncture wounds on her arms, Bomboy had two large gashes on her scalp and one ear nearly sliced off from the back of her head.
"My daughter is alive and it is a pure miracle," Krista Courter said. “It's going to be a long healing process for her, but luckily there was nothing life threatening.”
The attack occurred Monday when Bomboy was hunting deer along with her step-father and step-brother Kyle Courter. Bomboy and her step-father were driving deer towards Kyle and his friend when they spotted several bear cubs.
"The three cubs came running through and the next thing you knew, the mamma came running," Krista Courter said.
The sow then pounced onto Bomboy and her screams alerted Michael Courter and the other hunters. Bomboy's step-father fired a warning shot into the air when he heard her scream, which scared the bear off. He then fired at the bear again as it scampered away.
"I think she went into shock after it had happened," Krista Courter said. "I could see her face and it looked like she was massacred."
Courter took her daughter to a hospital, and she was later taken by ambulance to Geisinger Medical Center for more advanced treatment to close the wounds.
According to Rick Macklem, a law enforcement supervisor at the Pennsylvania Game Commission, an attack like this is very uncommon.
"Normally with black bears, they are afraid of you as much as you are afraid of them," Macklem told ABC News. "This isn't a matter of a vicious bear. It's more a matter of parental instincts."
The north-central region of Pennsylvania has a large black bear population and Macklem believes that it was nearby corn fields that attracted the bear and her cubs to the area.
Bomboy was taught to hunt by her father at age 10 and had her hunting license at the age of 12.
"She has hunted all her life," Krista Courter said. "She is very actively involved with the Pennsylvania Youth Hunter Education Challenge and is big on nature. It was a freak accident."
The freshman at Lock Haven University is now home and recovering.
When asked if she thought her daughter would go hunting again, Krista Courter said, "She doesn't seems too discouraged, but it's up to her. She doesn't seem like 'Oh my gosh, I'm never going back into the woods.'"
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It started last Friday night at around 10 p.m. Karen Perrin was alone at her downtown Washington, D.C., office, working late to finish up some last-minute travel plans for her boss.
She called her husband, former Redskins Running Back Lonnie Perrin, to let him know she would be leaving shortly, worked for another 10 to 15 minutes and then made what she assumed would be a quick run to the bathroom before packing up her bags and heading out.
Perrin said she never could have expected what happened next.
After washing her hands in the women's room, she went to open the door, but the handle would not budge.
"I thought, 'Ah! This cannot be,'" Perrin told ABC News, describing the initial moment of panic. "It sounds crazy, but I went back into the stall and then washed my hands again hoping to change something."
But when she reached for the latch for the second time, there was still no movement. She jiggled the handle. She kicked it with her boot. But it was to no avail.
"That's when it hit me," she says. "'I'm locked in here.'"
Perrin spent the next eight hours locked in this bathroom without a cellphone.
"I couldn't believe it," she said, fighting back tears as she recounted the hours spent inside. "I felt hopelessness. I felt like I was going to die in there because of the anxiety I was feeling."
Throughout the night, Perrin tried everything she could think of. She started taking paper towels and thrusting them under the door hoping that someone monitoring the surveillance footage would see the movement.
"I probably put 200 towels out," Perrin recalls. "But after nobody came to rescue me I realized I had to do something else."
She climbed on to a chair and reached an escape door in the ceiling. While she couldn't hoist herself up, she found a 3-foot-long rod in there that became her escape tool.
She used the rod to chisel her way through the wall so that she could reach through the hole and open the door.
"I thought about Shawshank Redemption," says Perrin, referring to the 1994 movie starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins.
After two hours, layer by layer, through dry wall and insulation, Perrin finally broke through and created a large enough hole to fit her arm. She then reached out, grasped for the handle on the other side and opened the door.
"I came undone," says Perrin. "I was crying. I felt like I was escaping a bad dream, like when you have a nightmare and you wake up and your heart is pounding and you realize, 'Oh, I was just dreaming. Did that just happen. Am I OK?'"
Perrin immediately called her husband and daughter, India, who at that point were getting ready to go out searching for her.
While nobody knows yet why or how the door became locked, Perrin is just happy to be at home and resting.
iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- An 18-year-old man is facing robbery charges for allegedly stealing a pair of Nike sneakers at gunpoint from a woman selling them on Facebook, according to Denver police.
The shoe seller, Gabrielle Aludo, agreed to meet a person who identified himself as "Isaiah Guaps" on Facebook in hopes of selling the pair of Nike tennis shoes, according to documents from the Denver District Attorney's office.
Aludo reportedly asked $180 for the sneakers but the suspect, Leroy Isaiah Bolden (using the alias Isaiah Guaps), allegedly proposed to pay $20 more if she would agree to meet him on a street corner in Denver, the court documents report.
When the two met downtown more than one month ago, Bolden reportedly pointed a black semi-automatic pistol at the woman's face and ran off with the sneakers down an alley, according to police. After Aludo notified police, she did some detective work on Facebook and was able to help officials identify Bolden, according to the court papers.
When ABC News attempted to search Isaiah Guaps on Facebook, no account linked to that name could be found. ABC's Denver affiliate KMGH reports that police found 56 pairs of Nike shoes when they searched Bolden's home.
Bolden is currently in custody and faces charges of aggravated robbery and menacing. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan 15.
Aludo and Bolden's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Pershing County Sheriff's Office(NEW YORK) -- Rescuers said a Nevada couple and four children were found Tuesday bundled up by a fire after spending two days in subzero temperatures in the wilderness.
James Glanton, 34, his girlfriend, Christina McIntee, 25, their two children, a niece and a nephew, never returned after driving into the mountains of northern Nevada Sunday afternoon to play in the snow.
As 200 searchers fanned out across the area, which is located roughly 100 miles northeast of Reno, here's what we know about what happened, and what the family did to stay warm -- and calm -- during its two-day ordeal:
The family's Jeep Grand Cherokee drove over an embankment and flipped over on Sunday. Chris Montes, a member of the rescue team, said the family wasn't lost but figured someone would come to its aid.
The family members knew a search team was looking for them because they could hear whistling and saw choppers flying overhead, Montes said.
As they waited for help, Montes said the adults built a fire, which they kept fueled for two days. When the family was located, Montes said the kids were "bundled up and in good shape."
A search team followed tracks on the road, which led them to footprints. Using binoculars, Montes said they were able to see the family's overturned Jeep.
Dr. Douglas Vacek of Pershing General Hospital said the entire group, including the four children, who range in age from 3 to 10 years old, did not suffer frostbite.
Montes and Vacek both credited Glanton for taking care of his family as temperatures dipped below zero. Vacek said the entire group is in "amazing condition considering what they've been through."
ABC News(WILMINGTON, N.C.) -- A grand jury declined to indict a North Carolina K-9 officer, clearing him of criminal charges after dash cam video showed him pushing his dog through a car window and into a driver's lap at the conclusion of a wild police chase.
A grand jury Monday in Wilmington, N.C., cleared K-9 officer Stafford Brister of criminal wrongdoing after dash cam video showed the officer lifting the dog into Johnnie Williams' car in October. The dog then attacked Williams, who sustained injuries to his face and shoulder. Police say just minutes before the attack, Williams blew through a DWI checkpoint.
New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David, concerned that Brister's actions were excessive, said he wanted to put this case in front of the jury and see if the officer should be charged with assault inflicting serious injury.
"This one I regarded as close enough where the community should be involved," David said.
This incident began on Oct. 31 when Williams, 42, drove through a DWI checkpoint, according to authorities, and led police on a chase through downtown Wilmington. At one point during the chase, Williams rammed a patrol car before racing off.
Police were finally able to get Williams to stop by crashing into his vehicle. After the chase ended, dash cam video shows Williams with his hands up as police approached his vehicle.
"I stopped and I gave up my rights, you know, when I tried to hold up my hand," Williams told ABC News affiliate WWAY-TV in a jailhouse interview.
That's when Brister lifted the K-9 through the driver-side window and into Williams' lap. Police broke through the passenger side window and dragged Williams out of the vehicle and away from the dog.
Jurors watched the video several times in court and sided with Brister, who is on administrative leave.
Police won't comment on the incident, pending an internal investigation. Police did tell ABC News that they had to chase Williams for miles through downtown and into the northern region of the county.
Williams, accused of nearly running over three officers during the chase, was indicted by the same jury on charges, including assault with a deadly weapon on governmental officials.
"I didn't do anything forceful against the officers. I did not do anything," Williams said.
Williams, who remains behind bars, will next appear in court January.
Kuzma/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Shannon Guess Richardson, the Texas woman accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg last spring, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to her role in ordering the components to make the ricin and mailing the letters.
In exchange for her plea, the federal government has agreed to a sentence not exceeding 18 years.
When news of the ricin letters first came to light, Richardson, 36, falsely implicated her estranged husband, Nathan, who was never charged in the case.
Richardson, an actress, has had small roles in TV shows and films, including The Vampire Diaries, Franklin & Bash, The Change-Up and The Walking Dead.
Ilka-Erika Szasz-Fabian/Thinkstock(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- A 6-year-old Colorado boy was slapped with the label of sexual harasser and suspended, all because he kissed his classmate on the hand.
ABC News affiliate KRDO-TV spoke with the boy, who in the past kissed the same girl -- his "girlfriend" -- on the cheek.
"It was during class," Hunter Yelton tells the news station about the latest show of affection. "And I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That's what happened."
"I have a lot of energy," Yelton says in his defense. "I mean 6-year-olds -- they have a lot of energy!"
The boy's mother, Jennifer, is outraged, saying of the female student, "She was fine with it, they are 'boyfriend and girlfriend.' The other children saw it and went to the music teacher. That was the day I had the meeting with the principal, where she first said sexual harassment."
She added, "This is taking it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a 6-year-old...Now my son is asking questions; 'What is sex, Mommy?' It should not ever be said, 'sex,' in a sentence with a 6-year-old...How can you say this about my child?"
Yelton was suspended previously for kissing the same girl on the cheek.
However, his mother wants the "sexual harassment" label stricken from his record. The school superintendent insists Yelton's actions fit the school's definition of sexual harassment.
WPBF/ABC News(PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.) -- A car in Florida ended up with a little less headroom than advertised Tuesday morning when the driver trapped her vehicle under the flatbed of a semi truck in the town of Port St. Lucie.
Remarkably, the driver -- a female in her mid-40′s -- survived the crash and was rescued with non life-threatening injuries, the St. Lucie County Fire District said.
“Our crews arrived at 6:03, and she was flown to a trauma center at 6:52, so it took them almost an hour to extract her from the car,” fire district spokeswoman Catherine Chaney told ABC News.
Initial reports indicate the semi truck pulled into the road, and the female driver went under the truck before it could move out of the way.
Creatas/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- The parents of a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy who was suspended after pretending to shoot an imaginary bow and arrow are mulling legal action against the school district unless the incident is expunged from his record, their attorney said Tuesday.
Fifth-grader Johnny Jones was disciplined for gesturing an imaginary bow and arrow using his No. 2 pencil, said attorney John Whitehead, president of a civil liberties group, The Rutherford Institute.
The South Eastern School District West student found himself in hot water in October after playfully responding to a friend’s challenge for a dual during class when the classmate pretended to shoot a gun in Johnny’s direction, Whitehead told ABC News.
Johnny responded by taking his pencil and mimicking a bow and arrow at his friend, and that’s when a girl in his class noticed the play and reported it to their teacher, Whitehead said.
Following a stern lecture by the boys’ teacher, the principal suspended the two for breaking the school district’s zero-tolerance policy against weapons, Whitehead said. As part of the suspension, their school records noted they had violated the district’s weapons policy, he said. Only Johnny’s family has decided to move forward with the possibility of legal action.
The Rutherford Institute sent a letter to Superintendent Rona Kaufmann asking the district to rescind the suspension and remove all references of it from Johnny’s permanent school record.
Kaufmann and Principal John Horton did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
The institute, based in Charlottesville, Va., has represented several cases involving zero-tolerance weapons policies.
The school district has until Friday to respond before Johnny’s parents decide on what legal action to take next, Whitehead said.
Whitehead, author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, has reviewed the district’s zero-tolerance policy and said that while it deals with rifles and shotguns and any type of weapon capable of inflicting serious bodily injury, Johnny’s imaginary bow and arrow doesn’t fall under that category.
“Johnny Jones is a cute little kid. They were just doing childish things, things that people do from the beginning of time,” Whitehead said.
“The kids see this stuff all the time,” in movies such as Hunger Games or Brave, Whitehead said. “Then they go act it out a little bit in school and bingo, bango, they’re suspended from school.”