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10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

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10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

Old 09-12-2008, 10:39 PM
  #1  
Dominant Buck
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Default 10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

http://www.islandpacket.com//news/local/story/607283.html

A 10-year-old Hilton Head Island boy has been suspended from school for having something most students carry in their supply boxes: a pencil sharpener.
The problem was his sharpener had broken, but he decided to use it anyway.
A teacher at Hilton Head Island International Baccalaureate Elementary School noticed the boy had what appeared to be a small razor blade during class on Tuesday, according to a Beaufort County sheriff's report.
It was obvious that the blade was the metal insert commonly found in a child's small, plastic pencil sharpener, the deputy noted.
The boy -- a fourth-grader described as a well-behaved and good student -- cried during the meeting with his mom, the deputy and the school's assistant principal.
He had no criminal intent in having the blade at school, the sheriff's report stated, but was suspended for at least two days and could face further disciplinary action.
District spokesman Randy Wall said school administrators are stuck in the precarious position between the district's zero tolerance policy against having weapons at school and common sense.
[/align]"We're always going to do something to make sure the child understands the seriousness of having something that could potentially harm another student, but we're going to be reasonable," he said.
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:00 AM
  #2  
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Default RE: 10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

ORIGINAL: Fieldmouse

http://www.islandpacket.com//news/local/story/607283.html

A 10-year-old Hilton Head Island boy has been suspended from school for having something most students carry in their supply boxes: a pencil sharpener.
The problem was his sharpener had broken, but he decided to use it anyway.
A teacher at Hilton Head Island International Baccalaureate Elementary School noticed the boy had what appeared to be a small razor blade during class on Tuesday, according to a Beaufort County sheriff's report.
It was obvious that the blade was the metal insert commonly found in a child's small, plastic pencil sharpener, the deputy noted.
The boy -- a fourth-grader described as a well-behaved and good student -- cried during the meeting with his mom, the deputy and the school's assistant principal.
He had no criminal intent in having the blade at school, the sheriff's report stated, but was suspended for at least two days and could face further disciplinary action.
District spokesman Randy Wall said school administrators are stuck in the precarious position between the district's zero tolerance policy against having weapons at school and common sense.

[/align]"We're always going to do something to make sure the child understands the seriousness of having something that could potentially harm another student, but we're going to be reasonable," he said.
Reasonable? I'm sorry but this guy has no concept of "reasonable."

No Sheep For Him
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:11 AM
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Default RE: 10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

Reading between the lines, this administrator is probably following guidance provided to him by the school's attorney. The idea, probably is, (1) you need to have a good plan in place to protect students and (2) you must follow the plan undeviatingly and without exercising judgment. Failure to do both #1 and #2 will lead, in the circumstance someone is injured under any circumstances, with some other attorney-shark seeking and winning some huge award on the basis the school did not exercise due care to protect their charges.

Someone on another thread was bad mouthing attorneys, calling them liars. That view was pretty soundly beaten down there. They should have focused more on this subject -- people spilling cups of hot coffee in their laps and finding an attorney who will successfully prosecute a multi-million dollar personal injury lawsuit -- because some dumb ...Deleted by CalHunter... spilled coffee on themselves. This is a broad problem. I don't know enough to know who to fault -- attorneys, judges, juries? This adds unnecessary costs to health care and to products that we buy. It would be instructive, I think, to look at how other countries handle stuff like this. I somehow don't think people in France successfully sue Pierre's Cafe Magnifique for spilling coffee in their laps. I somehow don't think people in France, Germany, Spain successfully sue hospitals for $100 M because they were given an ultra-sound they weren't supposed to have, were handled roughly, and had some stitches inadvertantly ripped out. Some damages, OK, $100 M??? That is just putting the cost of healthcare out of reach of some people because these costs are passed on, of course.
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:14 AM
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Default RE: 10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

I'll stand aside so as not to get trampled by our board members as they push their way onto this thread in defense of this strong-arm approach to a pencil sharpener.

After all, isn't that what most of you guys did when a child had a cop run to a school on the grave matter of overdue library books?
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:23 AM
  #5  
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Default RE: 10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

I would think the PENCIL would be more of a weapon than the small sharpener blade.
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:32 AM
  #6  
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Default RE: 10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

ORIGINAL: flyinfeathers

I would think the PENCIL would be more of a weapon than the small sharpener blade.
Yes, how do you deal with the fact that a sharpened pencil would make a heckuva weapon? Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

I've got it. Crayons only until the kids finish high school.
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:55 AM
  #7  
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Default RE: 10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

in junior high school i pinched some gal's butt and she stabbed me in the arm with a sharp pencil, it stuck in there so i left it in to show everyone. i got in trouble for leaving it in my arm....lol
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:32 AM
  #8  
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Default RE: 10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

ORIGINAL: Alsatian

Reading between the lines, this administrator is probably following guidance provided to him by the school's attorney. The idea, probably is, (1) you need to have a good plan in place to protect students and (2) you must follow the plan undeviatingly and without exercising judgment. Failure to do both #1 and #2 will lead, in the circumstance someone is injured under any circumstances, with some other attorney-shark seeking and winning some huge award on the basis the school did not exercise due care to protect their charges.

Someone on another thread was bad mouthing attorneys, calling them liars. That view was pretty soundly beaten down there. They should have focused more on this subject -- people spilling cups of hot coffee in their laps and finding an attorney who will successfully prosecute a multi-million dollar personal injury lawsuit -- because some dumb a$$ spilled coffee on themselves. This is a broad problem. I don't know enough to know who to fault -- attorneys, judges, juries? This adds unnecessary costs to health care and to products that we buy. It would be instructive, I think, to look at how other countries handle stuff like this. I somehow don't think people in France successfully sue Pierre's Cafe Magnifique for spilling coffee in their laps. I somehow don't think people in France, Germany, Spain successfully sue hospitals for $100 M because they were given an ultra-sound they weren't supposed to have, were handled roughly, and had some stitches inadvertantly ripped out. Some damages, OK, $100 M??? That is just putting the cost of healthcare out of reach of some people because these costs are passed on, of course.
Just a reminder here. Yes attorneys do file those lawsuits. But the lawyers don't award the money. Juries, folks just like us, award those huge sums of money. Lawyers get a percentage of that money. But if the juries stopped awarding those big prizes, the lawyers would back off those lawsuits. If you want to criticize, pile on the juries.


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Old 09-13-2008, 11:05 AM
  #9  
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Default RE: 10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

I read the article, police report and school letter sent home to parents (the article had links to the last 2 documents). The police officer's report stated that he determined no criminal intent occurred after investigating the incident. He would have obviously communicated this to the school officials as he did not issue a citation to the student who later went home with his mother.

I think the school was correct in removing the piece of metal from the student and not taking any chances on anybody getting hurt from the sharpened piece of metal (it could have been a simple accident by the student trying to sharpen his own pencil, etc.). I don't see a huge problem in the school and mother deciding to take the student home for the rest of the day since he was likely a little embarrassed over the whole incident.

Practically every school in the country has a "zero tolerance" policy regarding bringing weapons to school and most appear to include automatic suspension with some even mandating expulsion. It was refreshing to see a school district official acknowledge the district was caught in a hard place between zero tolerance and common sense.

The school districts I deal with have all stated the zero tolerance, no exceptions policy has been the result of parents complaining about perceptions of arbitrary punishments meted out to students who violate school weapons policies. Most administrators realize their discretion has been reduced more than they would like but nobody has come up with a workable resolution yet.

I think some modifications to such policies are needed but I haven't thought about it in detail. Off the top of my head, I would think that if the responding police or sheriff's department determines there was no criminal intent or crime committed, a school district (they usually have the final say in the matter) should have the ability to reduce the punishment of the student or possibly determine there should be no punishment. That is something that schools, parents and law enforcement should all discuss in each school district and come up with a consensus opinion on how to handle this issue.

VC1111's reference to the late library books incident was inevitable but the 2 incidents have some substantial differences that reduce the effectiveness of his comment.
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Old 09-13-2008, 11:33 AM
  #10  
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Default RE: 10 year old suspended for having a pencil sharpener

Zero tolerance does nothing but give teachers and administrators zero responsibility for making an adult decision.
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