Two sheriff’s investigators showed up at Pamela Albaugh’s Leesburg, Va., home after a complaint was filed alleging that her 11-year old son had made “anti-American and violent” statements in school. The boy, Yishai Asido, was assigned to write a letter to U.S. Marines and responded, according to his teacher, by saying, “I wish all Americans were dead and that American soldiers should die,” reports the Washington Post. Yishai and Albaugh deny that the boy wished his countrymen dead.
Albaugh, a U.S. citizen, and her husband, an Israeli citizen who manages a Leesburg moving company, say the investigators’ visit and the school’s response were a paranoid overreaction in a charged post-9/11 environment. But law enforcement officials say the terrorist attacks and the Columbine school shootings require them to consider whether children who make threats might post a danger to their classmates. The case illustrates the balancing act that schools and law enforcement must find between the free speech of minors and community safety.