High School Student is Expelled and Criminally Charged For Spitballing

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

Jonathan Turley

38 thoughts on “High School Student is Expelled and Criminally Charged For Spitballing”

  1. Blouise

    Your friend should be a good administrator – he’ll be forewarned about all the mischief those students can get up to.

  2. On a dare one of the boys in my eighth grade class glued all the teacher’s books together. He mistakenly glued his school I D to the bottom of the pile. When confronted, he confessed and had to spend three days doing all his school work in the Principal’s office. He spent a lot of time in the Principal’s office for pulling the fire alarm, putting cherry bombs in the drinking fountains and letting all the air out of the basket balls.

    Two years ago I went to an eighth grade class reunion and he was seated at my table. He is now President of a very large mid-western University. The rest of us didn’t give a hoot and had a great time telling his wife all about his bad-boy days.

    God only knows where he’d be if the rules kids deal with today were in place when he was a boy.

  3. Pete-

    That was because of your saintly demeanor and the fact that you pointed your finger at the brown-nosing teacher’s pet.

  4. It’s a good thing that my red wax lips, and later, my wax buck teeth were confiscated by my teacher in the 1940’s, not the 2010’s. I might have become a dangerous menace to society instead of the solid citizen I have become. C’mon now, who’s snickering back there.

  5. jeez, i threw a paper airplane bounced it off the blackboard and stuck in the teachers ear and didn’t even get sent to the office.

  6. Do they still have thumb tacks…..I remember putting one in the underneath of a teachers chair….it took awhile to get it through the plastic…preservation played out….

  7. “Stupor of knowledge lacking inwardness–
    What book, O learned man, will set me right?”

    –The opening two lines of Theodore Roethke, “The Pure Fury”…

  8. Oh. Sorry.

    What I wrote is wrong, and I apologize.

    Thanks to modern medicine and iatrogenic blunders, I was medicated into a dementia, by mid 1989, in which I was oriented times zero. I could not recognize my name much of the time, could not add 5 and 6, and would be found in bed in another patient’s room during broad daylight because I could not recognize that bright light outside meant it was not night. A fair estimate of my WAIS-R score might have been an IQ of around 5 or so.

    Therefore, I am personally familiar with pretty much the whole range of mental competence in the scientific language of the 1930s, during which I was born. I went from high intelligence through normal, moron, imbecile and idiot, all the way to very low grade idiot, and returned back to Mensa qualifying scores.

    That Dee Hock quote is elegant.

  9. It is the law and the structure of law which is moronic.

    It is concocting a structure of law, which, when imposed upon people, becomes so profoundly brain-damaging, especially to lawyers, that no lawyer dare ponder a viable remedy.

    Engineers, on the other hand, actually learn to accurately analyze a problem and design effective, economical, efficient solutions to practical problems.

    This is not the fault of lawyers, law education grants to lawyers no method of accessing any effective, economical efficient solution and only offers using precedent to so complicate the law that lawyers rarely are allowed by law to admit the predicament.

    Engineers are required by applicable engineering law, to acknowledge an engineering problem and seek a viable solution which is practical, efficient, economical and effective.

    Perhaps law needs to be placed under engineering supervision.

  10. James M.,
    Even with plastic “pellets” it is still spitballing. The kids weren’t injured, they weren’t harmed and they weren’t intimidated. These administrators should be walking the street now looking for a new profession. If this was in place when I was in grade school, I would still be in prison.

  11. Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex and intelligent behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple and stupid behavior.
    —Dee Hock

  12. I don’t think expulsion was appropriate, but I definitely disagree with your characterization of this as being expelled for shooting “spitballs”. Spitballs are balls made from wadded up pieces of paper wetted with spit. He was using plastic pellets. The real headline should be “Student expelled for shooting his classmate with plastic pellets using a homemade blowgun.” Still doesn’t warrant expulsion, but it ain’t “spitballing.”

  13. Spitballs, dangerous?? Hell no. Gross but faaaaaaaaaaaaar from dangerous.

    If the most dangerous thing kids did in high school was lobbing spitballs, I’d give them each a hug.

    Zero tolerance policies run amok.

  14. “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.'”

    Really, genius? When I was in 7th grade, such “dangerous weapons” as pen-based spitball “guns” were a very common item. I, like the my classmates, managed to survive such a dire “threat”. No one lost an eye. No one died. No one felt threatened by a spitball. Why? Because spitballs are harmless.

    Principal Davis?

    You are a total (insert expletive of choice here) moron.

    If the school board in your district has a lick of sense, you’ll be unemployed soon too.

  15. “‘More and more school districts apply these zero-tolerance policies, and common sense goes out the window,” said Del. Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg). “Something like this can haunt a kid for the rest of his life, just for a little mischief.'” (Kevin Sieff-Washington Post)

    Wrong. Common Sense does not “go out the window” … it was never in the room.

  16. Oh for crying out loud. Between sexting, cyber bullying, and now spit balling, schools are almost too dangerous to attend. When I was in school, there was real sex, real bullying, and spit balling galore. Why is everyone being such a baby now?

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