Maryland Police Called To Question 10-Year-Old Boy Playing With Toy Money On School Bus

Tiffany Kelly began recounting the incident through a petition on Change.org where she described the alleged incident that occurred in Montgomery County, Maryland in May.

According to Kelly, her son took the toy money to school on May 14 and passed out some of the bills to other children on his bus. The reason, Kelly said, was to help her son socialize with other kids, something with which he struggles.

"The money has bright pink Asian symbols on the front and back, along with dotted lines, so that it can be distinguished as play money," Kelly wrote, adding that her son was excited about learning to count "his money."

Kelly said that one of the toy money bills was found on the bus later that day and after individuals reviewed the footage of the morning bus ride, police were called to the school in Chevy Chase to question her child. Kelly also said the Secret Service was called, but did not specify if they also questioned her son.

"No one called me. No one let me know what was going on with my son. I was completely disregarded as my son's parent. Someone please help me understand why my child with disabilities is being questioned without me knowing or present?," Kelly wrote, saying that a police officer contacted her around 4 p.m., hours after her son was questioned.

In the conversation, Kelly said the officer told her that they determined her son had not committed any crime as he did not attempt to spend the money.

"I just don't understand. I reviewed the disciplinary policy on Montgomery County Public School's website; it makes no mention of what happens even if someone does indeed possess money that could be considered counterfeit. Nothing illegal occurred; who at Montgomery County Public Schools decided this was an offense that was of such a possible imminent danger to others that a call to law enforcement had to be made, instead of a call to mom? Where in their policy does this action support a call to the police for an elementary age child?," she wrote.

In a statement to NBC News, the Montgomery County School District said the policy for the district is to contact law enforcement if a student is suspected of using counterfeit money to make a purchase. However, Kelly said in her post that her son never tried to buy anything with his toy money.

The district told NBC News that in the situation with Kelly's son, the police should not have been called.

"MCPS staff are actively working with the parent to address her concerns. There were some clear missteps on our part and we are working to ensure the process is clear moving forward for staff and that incidents like this do not happen again," a district spokesman told NBC News.

In her petition, Kelly said she feels the decision to call the police was racially motivated.

"All children do the same things, but non-white children are subject to harsher disciplinary measures. It can't be possible that he's being targeted because of his disabilities, could it? We know policing in this country looks different for those that are suffering with mental illness, a disability, or is a person of color. Which target was it here?," Kelly wrote.

"Boys can be boys; unless you are non-white. Then, the rules change. You should have called his very involved, very aware mother, not the police. The climate in this country has mothers and fathers afraid for their children's very lives. This should never have happened."

Kelly also said that she and her children moved to Chevy Chase from Florida in December and given the lack of diversity in the area, she was afraid her son could be a target for police.

According to Neighborhood Scout, Chevy Chase is 89.3 percent white, 3.9 percent Hispanic, 3.4 percent Mixed Race, 2.7 percent Asian and 0.5 percent black. Data from the 2010 U.S. Census indicates 85 percent of the population is white and 5 percent black.

"Kids play with fake money. It's even used as an educational tool. Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery County PD, you must not allow this to happen again. You are contributing to the over-policing of minority children," Kelly wrote.

Kelly told NBC News that her son remains at the school, but she shared her story so other children won't have the same experience.

School bus
Children walk past a School Bus in Monterey Park, California on April 28, 2017. In some schools, children are forced to mop cafeteria floors. In extreme cases, students are sent home with a stamp on their arm that reads "I owe lunch money." The practice gained national attention when a cafeteria worker in Pennsylvania quit after having to take away a child's hot meal. The issue resurfaced after the state of New Mexico passed the first-of-its-kind legislation banning lunch shaming. California and Texas, are considering similar legislation, hoping to shield needy children from becoming pawns in a quarrel not of their making. Getty/FREDERIC J. BROWN