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View Full Version : Freeze! Before I Shoot...A Spit Ball


BamaGrits84
02-05-2011, 03:45 PM
This is so stupid to me. No way the PSI created by breathing into that tube could actually cause any serious harm to another student. This kid is being treated like he brought a pair of brass knuckles and a knife to school. I mean I think of think the comb thing is stupid and after one tmie of getting in trouble over rubberbands you would think he would know not to even test the waters, but is the punishment equal to the "crime", which I also think is BS because this is not a crime since there was no intent to cause harm.

Virginia Teen Suspended, Facing Criminal Charges for Shooting Plastic Spitballs in School

The family of a Virginia teen suspended for the remainder of the school year for shooting plastic "spitwads" at students in the hallway is targeting the school district's zero-tolerance policy, claiming that it's "criminalizing childish behavior."

Andrew Mikel II, a freshman honor student at Spotsylvania High School who also is active in Junior ROTC, is filling an appeal to be reinstated and have his record cleared after school officials suspended him for using what appeared to be the hollow body of a pen to blow small plastic balls at three students during his lunch period last December.

The 14-year-old initially was hit with a 10-day suspension, but the Spotsylvania County School Board later voted to extend the punishment for the rest of the school year, citing the Student Code of Conduct's requirement that a student found with "any type of weapon, or object used to intimidate, threaten or harm others" be "expelled for a minimum of 365 days" unless "special circumstances exist."

The district also referred the case to the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office, which charged him with three counts of misdemeanor assault.

As result Mikel entered a diversion program which includes community service and substance abuse and anger management counseling to avoid prosecution, but his father says his damaged record has shattered his hopes of attending the U.S. Naval Academy after graduation.

Liz Scott Spotsylvania Sherriff's Office says while Mikel's punishment may be controversial, "assault is assault is assault."

"There were three victims that were involved in this, and I think the public needs to remember that," Scott told FoxNews.com.

Scott said those victims, two females and one male, complained of feeling a "pinch" or "sting" when they were hit with the pellets and one even had a welt on her arm as result.

"They were asking him to stop, he replied, 'No.' When they asked him, 'Why are you doing this?' he said, 'because I want to,'" she said.

Citing the school's 'zero tolerance' policy, Assistant Principal Lisa Andruss at a December 21 disciplinary hearing said that Mikel presented a danger and that the boy's behavior was indicative of a trend because he was disciplined in seventh grade for shooting rubber bands with a ruler and suspended for three days in 8th grade for bringing a comb to school that resembled a pocket knife, his father said.

As a result, the guidance department said Andrew, who had hoped to attend the U.S. Naval Academy after graduation, can no longer be considered as an applicant, his father said.

"I'm scratching my head at the whole thing," Andrew Mikel Sr. told FoxNews.com. "One thing is he must attend substance abuse counseling he's never had a substance abuse issue in his life."

The older Mikel, a 39-year-old former Navy Seabee and Marine officer, said he was shocked that his son's future could be so heavily affected over "a spitwad."

"Right from the get go the Assistant Principal Lisa Andruss said, 'Come pick up your son, he's being suspended for 10 days, we're recommending expulsion, and we're going to push this to the fullest extent of the law," he told FoxNews.com. "When I arrived she showed me what amounts to a pee shooter: a plastic pen casing about four inches long and these little plastic balls that he'd had from a toy guy that he had years ago and found in his closet recently. This thing is harmless."

According to the school incident report Mikel said he used the "small plastic tube and a handful of plastic pellets" to shoot at least three students because he "thought it would be cool."

His father says he tried to talk Andruss into giving his son a more lenient punishment, but Mikel said she had already had his son interrogated by police and her mind was made up.

"I tried to talk to her and say, 'We understand this is wrong, but doesn't this seem a little excessive?' And she was just dead set this was what they were going to do," the older Mikel said.

Two disciplinary hearings later, on January 18, the school board voted to suspend the teen for the rest of the year.

"What happened to Andrew Mikel is an example of how oppressive zero tolerance policies have become," said John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, which is representing Mikel Jr. "School officials have developed a very dangerous mindset that allows virtually no freedom for students, while at the same time criminalizing childish behavior."

Still, even school officials were divided on the issue.

Principal Russell Davis called it a "clear-cut case" for a minimum "365 day expulsion," in an email to Andruss and Spotsylvania's coordinator of school safety, John Lynn. The email was one of several documents secured by the Mikels through a Freedom of Information Act request.

"We have an obligation to protect the students in our building from others who pose a threat to the over-all safe learning environment," Davis wrote.

Lynn, on the other hand, wrote in the same string of emails that he was "not at all comfortable expelling or suspending this student for the remainder of the year," recommending instead that Mikel be allowed to return to school after his initial 10-day suspension.

Mikel says he thinks detention probably would have been more fitting.

"My son did an infraction and he deserves a just punishment but this is like cutting someone's hand off for stealing a piece of cabbage," he said. "If my son, instead of shooting a spitball, went up and punched a student right in the face he would only have gotten five days suspension and even if he'd drawn blood the school resource officer said police still wouldn't have gotten involved."

"It takes four state agencies to go after someone with a spitwad: It takes the sheriff's department, the commonwealth attorney, the school board on various levels and the department of juvenile justice what a fine use of taxpayer resources," he added.

Whitehead says he will appeal the decision next week and hopes to have the teen's record expunged.

"The next step is 30 days from January 17 there's an appeals process to the state circuit court in Virgina," he told FoxNews.com. "We're going to go through that appeal to see if the local circuit court will reverse the suspension, which would hopefully help reverse the criminal charges."

Spotsylvania County schools spokeswoman Sara Branner said the school couldn't discuss the case due to privacy issues.

County Mike
02-05-2011, 04:36 PM
Riciculous. We're a country full of sissies now.

DonnaMaria
02-05-2011, 05:58 PM
The entire district......staff, teachers, parents, students should show up at the next Board of Education Meeting and protest this. This is absolutely outrageous and if they stand by and do nothing, it will happen again.

The reason why this kind of crap goes on in public schools is because people don't get involved. People need to show up at school board meetings, find out what is going on in their schools, let their opinions be heard and if necessary, vote out the school board officials responsible for this kind of stupidity. School Boards are ELECTED positions and they set/are responsible for the policies and their enforcement.

It is unbelieveable that this kid would have received 5 days suspension for drawing blood from punching someone, yet he misses the rest of the year for a spit ball.:angry:

BamaGrits84
02-05-2011, 06:18 PM
The entire district......staff, teachers, parents, students should show up at the next Board of Education Meeting and protest this. This is absolutely outrageous and if they stand by and do nothing, it will happen again.

The reason why this kind of crap goes on in public schools is because people don't get involved. People need to show up at school board meetings, find out what is going on in their schools, let their opinions be heard and if necessary, vote out the school board officials responsible for this kind of stupidity. School Boards are ELECTED positions and they set/are responsible for the policies and their enforcement.

It is unbelieveable that this kid would have received 5 days suspension for drawing blood from punching someone, yet he misses the rest of the year for a spit ball.:angry:

Girl I went to a meeting last week involving one of my kids schools being closed. I hate the school baord here. They are pathetic. $10 million short fall for next year so they close one of the best schools in the area? The truth is they want to close it so they can sell the land to a college that just bought a piece of neighboring property. They are using stimulus money to build new because that money is designated by the fed DoE and they know they can sell that school and do whatever they want with the money. No other neighboring counties are closing school and they are facing the same cuts in state funding. Problem is instead of buying a new school to replace they one they want to close they are overcrowding some nearby schools that are in poor physical shape to house so many kids. After 30 minutes of listening to their BS I took my turn to comment. Walked up to the mic and told them that limited amount of time listening to them made me realize one thing - "What's best for my kids is a for sale sign on my lawn!"

DonnaMaria
02-05-2011, 07:16 PM
Good for you!!!! But don't let them win and make you sell!!!! Get a group of parents together and call the newspapers, call local TV, get ALL parents together and GET THEM THE HECK OUT!!!!!!!!! VOTE THEIR BUTTS OUT!!!

Even better, get the parent of a child in the district to run for a seat on the board!!!!!!! Usually school board members don't even have a child IN the district!!!!!!!!!!

Last year our BOE decided to eliminate 17 staff positions AND NEVER EVEN SET FOOT IN THE SCHOOL TO SEE WHAT THE STAFF MEMBERS ACTUALLY DID DURING THE DAY BEFORE THEY CUT THEIR JOBS!!!! All they knew was that the saff members were "just" support positions. They never saw how many children they helped during the day or how much they were needed because we serve children from disadvantaged families. Children with educational AND emotional needs that desperately needed intervention!

For the sake of your child and for the sake of children who have parents who don't give a damn about them or about anything, caring parents like yourself need to act before it's too late!