Archive for January 30th, 2011

A ninth grader in a Spotsylvania, Virginia, high school has been suspended and placed in a “diversion program” by police for hitting three classmates with spit wads. Andrew Mikel has been expelled for the remainder of the school year, ordered to take substance-abuse and anger-management counseling, and perform 24 hours of community service for blowing soft tiny plastic balls through the body of a plastic pen.  

Spotsylvania County's photo of the pen and pellets confiscated from Andrew Mikel

School administrators and board members classified the plastic pen and balls as a weapon, and along with the expulsion, filed assault charges with the sheriff’s department.

In a December 10 letter to the boy’s family, Spotsylvania High School assistant principal Lisa Andruss explained the administration’s action:

“This action results from ‘assaulted three students; and possession of projectiles and device to propel projectiles’ which are violations of Student Code of Conduct section B, article 3, item b … and item g.”

Section B, article 3 of the code addresses “violent criminal conduct; item “b” addresses “killing, shooting, stabbing, cutting, wounding, otherwise physically injuring or battering any person; and item “g” addresses any weapons or objects “used to intimidate, threaten or harm others, any explosive device or any dangerous article(s) shall subject the student to a recommendation of expulsion.”

According to Mikel’s father, the boy is an honor student who has never been in trouble and is active in both the Junior ROTC program and his local church.

“He took a plastic pen apart and shot little balls through the body of the pen. The balls are … less than a quarter inch in diameter … [and] weigh one fifth of a gram. You’re lucky if you can get them about four to six feet using a pen to blow them.

My son realizes what he did was foolish.… It wasn’t appropriate, it was horseplay…. If they gave him a couple of days detention I would understand, but to classify him as a violent criminal bringing weapons to school and using them to harm kids, it’s just ridiculous.

To the school, a weapon is anything that can fire a projectile. They gave Andrew the same punishment as somebody who brought a rifle or crossbow to school.”—Mikel’s father, a former Navy Seabee Marine officer, and engineer

Mikel’s father said that his son had planned to attend the U.S. Naval Academy after high school, but he’s been told the incident will keep the boy from being admitted.

“I don’t know how kids survive in schools nowadays…. We’ve been fighting zero-tolerance cases since the mid-1990’s, and it’s getting worse. There’s a very dangerous, monolithic mindset; there’s no freedom in schools.”—John Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford Institute

In a December 21, 2010, hearing, the Spotsylvania County school board ruled Mikel’s criminal charges will be expunged upon completion of the “diversion program” for first-time offenders.

Riddle me this: a kid hits three kids with spit wads he blew though a plastic pen and four state agencies—school administration, sheriff’s department, Department of Juvenile Justice, the Commonwealth Attorney—are called in to render justice.

Political correctness is a psychiatric disorder. Sufferers should be treated with understanding and compassion, but never listened to or taken seriously.

I.M. Kane

For more on the story, see Zero tolerance ‘insane madness’ in Virginia high school.

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