Spotsylvania High School student Andrew Mikel II, 14, is the latest kid to be swept up in the zero tolerance/zero logic campaign against toy guns in school. (For earlier stories, click here and here and here). Mikel was expelled and criminally charged after he used a pen casing (the tube of preference for spitballers) to spit plastic pellets at other students at lunch. He was charged with use of a “weapon” in school. The Spotsylvania Knights may carry a lance
Notably, the school’s hearing officer, John Lynn, wrote to administrators that he was “not at all comfortable expelling or suspending this student for the remainder of the year,” according to the documents. However, even with the opportunity of hindsight, the school officials insisted on expulsion.
The boy is now charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault. The school officials cited the federal Gun-Free Schools Act that requires expulsion for weapons, including hand guns, explosive devices and projectile weapons “used to intimidate, threaten or harm others.” This was a spitball incident.
Nevertheless, Principal Russell Davis insists “[w]e have an obligation to protect the students in our building from others who pose a threat to the over-all safe learning environment.” What of the obligation to be fair to students and not to criminalize education in our society? What of the obligation to use a modicum of logic and discretion? I have previously written on this trend.
What is astonishing about these incidents is that they cause national outcries but the officials are never reprimanded or retrained — leading to a continuation of this blind application of the zero tolerance policy that is turning our children into neurotic little felons.
Source: Washington Post