Six-year-old’s suspension for making gun gesture overturned

RRoscoe Nix Elementary Schoolobin Ficker, a Bethesda-based attorney who may be best known for his heckling at basketball games, is in the news again.

Ficker successfully represented a Silver Spring family whose six-year-old son was suspended from school for making a gun gesture and pointing at another student. Montgomery County officials rescinded the suspension Friday.

Ficker argued that school officials overreacted to the pretend gesture and said the boy, who attends Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School, is too young to comprehend in any meaningful way the significance of his actions.

“He doesn’t understand,” Ficker said. “The law says he is not old enough to form intent.”

The boy made the universal sign for a gun one week after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Ficker said the school was ”looking at the worst possible interpretation of a young, naive six-year-old.” He also argued that school officials should have discussed the situation with the boy’s mom and considered the implications of the suspension.

“They could have called the mother in. They didn’t do that,” Ficker told The Washington Examiner. “They just said, ‘You’re suspended.’ Five years from now, when someone in to Montgomery County looks at his permanent record, they’re going to see that he threatened to shoot another student.”

If the name hasn’t yet rang a bell, Ficker became well known heckling opponents of the Washington Bullets from his seat behind the visiting team’s bench at USAir Arena in Landover. When the team moved to the MCI Center (now Verizon Center) in downtown Washington, it reseated Ficker far away from the court, prompting him to give up his seats in protest.

His antics became so well known that the Phoenix Suns’ Charles Barkley flew him to Phoenix and gave him a seat behind the Chicago Bulls’ bench during the 1993 NBA Finals. He was so over the top, however, that he was removed by security during the first quarter.

The Maryland Court of Appeals suspended Ficker’s law license in June 2007 in response to complaints of poor client representation. His license was reinstated later that year.

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