Virginia Sixth Grader Stops Student From Cutting Himself And Throws Away The Razor . . . Virginia Officials Then Suspend Her And Recommend Expulsion

article-0-1C73297A00000578-721_634x351It sometimes seems like school administrators are competing to show the most unhinged and ridiculous applications of a “zero tolerance” rule. The school officials at Bayside Middle School may have finally won this dubious competition with the charges against sixth grader Adrionna Harris. Harris did what most people would consider a commendable if not heroic act. She stopped a fellow student who was cutting himself with a razor and then threw the razor away. She told administrators what happened and those administrators proceeded to suspend her and recommend expulsion.

What is really amazingly is the the razor (thrown in the trash) was never found so it was Adrionna’s word alone that was used to substantiate the charge. So she was disciplined for not only grabbing the razor but telling the truth to school officials — quite a lesson for other students. (Presumably, if Harris was viewed as bringing a weapon to school or involved in a student cutting incident, there would have been either additional disciplinary charges or a police charge).

The school simply maintains that she had possession of a razor and did not report it. However, school officials have reportedly refused to respond to the parents or the media.

article-0-1C73298200000578-237_306x320The razor (as shown here) is quite small. There is a growing problem with students who cut themselves. Ironically, the most effective intervention is probably from another student.

Adrionna was allowed back into school. However, the question is why all those responsible for this charge are not themselves disciplined or fired. We have previously followed the suspensions and discipline of students under zero tolerance policies that are used by teachers to justify zero judgment or responsibility. I have long criticized zero tolerance policies that have led to suspensions and arrests of children (here, here and here and here and here). Here is a prior column on the subject (and here).Children have been suspended or expelled for drawing stick figures or wearing military hats or bringing Legos shaped like guns or even having Danish in the shape of a gun. Despite the public outcry over the completely irrational and abusive application of zero tolerance rules, administrators and teachers continue to apply them blindly. If you do not have to exercise judgment, you can never been blamed for any failure. Conversely, even when the public outcry results in a reversals, teachers and administrators never seem punished with the same vigor for showing no judgment or logic in punishing a child.

In this case, school administrators have not only failed to properly reward a student for an admirable act but abused the student in a robotic, senseless application of this policy. It is unnerving to leave a child in the care of such people who act in arbitrary and capricious ways to the detriment of students. This decision had to be made with the knowledge and approval of multiple district officials. If the public accounts of this case are correct (and there has been no denial from the district), this action for both moronic and abusive. Yet, it is unlikely that anyone will be punished for the action. The lack of punishment will reaffirm that view that it is safer to brutalize students rather than use any discretion or judgment as an adult.

DSC00298Principle Dr. Paula Johnson was just honored in 2013 as 2013 Outstanding Secondary School Assistant Principal of the Year. Johnson told the family that the school would not force the full suspension, which was a relief. However, there remains the original senseless act directed against this student.

39 thoughts on “Virginia Sixth Grader Stops Student From Cutting Himself And Throws Away The Razor . . . Virginia Officials Then Suspend Her And Recommend Expulsion”

  1. Darwin awards are given for idiotic acts…. Do these administrators qualify…

  2. Reblogged this on SiriusCoffee and commented:
    Common Core is also a type of “Zero Tolerence” policy, that absolves teachers from the results of their student outcomes. The politiced public school system is an ugly one.

  3. I How can we trust educators who are too ignorant to discriminate between credible threats to their charges and those incidents that pose no danger. Paula Johnson has demonstrated not only her sheer ineptitude as an educator but more important her ineptitude in her duty to protect her students from harm. The problem is that our educators have created a system that shields and protects them from accountability.

  4. Veronica, most secretaries I know (I’m a legal secretary) have much better judgment than that.

  5. I wonder when, if ever during the epoch of human existence, people who happen to believe they have some form of authority over other people will stumble upon “the fundamental attribution error” of social psychology…

  6. At what point will parents be forced to simply keep their children at home and away from what appear to be labor recruitment camps bearing little resemblance to schools? I am actually shocked she wasn’t arrested and beaten. That appears to be coming soon as America slips further into barbarism.

  7. “After none of Ms. Harris’s calls to the school were returned, the determined mother turned to her local NBC affiliate.

    “When reporters began making calls themselves, school officials suddenly contacted the Harris.”

    What a coincidence!

    1. And a new study has shown that black students are more likely to be suspended under these policies than whites. Can you spell ‘racist’?

  8. The question is “why are we letting people so lacking in good judgment and common sense teach our children?”

  9. The question I always ask is what is the rest of the story? Why do I ask? As I reporter I have had three cases of this sort that appeared absurd on the surface but we didn’t get the full story from the family involved.

  10. The problem is the idea of ‘zero tolerance’ which does not allow administrators discretion in punishments. This student should not be punished, but the school district policies are such that they have no choice. The nice thing, for administrators, about zero tolerance is that they do not have to think. It is a robotic act. Your toaster could do the same job.

  11. It is simple. Next election throw the school board out if they do not discipline the administrators. The voters CAN throw out the fools who do not protect the children from so called professionals.

  12. It is beginning to sound like the problem is school ADMINISTRATORS – are these people actually TRAINED in anything or just glorified secretaries ? I could not imagine any trained teacher I have ever known behaving like this – all these “administrators” should be sent for special “common sense” training – have they lost their minds – kids will now know they should just keep their noses OUT of everything that is going on and just be zombies – do ONLY what you have been told to do and NOTHING ELSE – no thinking required !!

  13. The student did, in fact, report her “possession” of the razor! That is why she is in trouble. Follow the rules, tell the truth and get punished. That will teach students how to behave!

    I don’t care how many “awards” this alleged professional received she should be fired.

  14. Suspension followed up with expulsion is amply justified, but not for this student, but for the administration. Get these fools out!

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