• Pellet gun at school violates zero-tolerance policy

    Date: 11.02.11 | by Judge Tom.

    As you know, many middle schools and high schools across the country have zero-tolerance policies regarding drugs, alcohol and weapons. If you’re not familiar with the rules at your school, check your Student Handbook for what’s covered and the penalties for violating  the rules. It may include suspension or expulsion depending on the circumstances.

    Do you know what a “simulated weapon” is? Can you bring a fake knife to school or a plastic water pistol? How about an unloaded paintball gun? Will these get you into trouble? A senior at Verrado High School in Arizona found out in September, 2011. The unnamed student brought a pellet gun to school. A parent saw the boy with the gun in the parking lot and called the police. He was detained and questioned, but not arrested. The police determined that he did not intend to harm anyone.

    Photo by Au_tiger01 (Flickr)

    Although no charges were filed against the student, he was suspended for nine days under the school’s policy. Simulated weapons are meant to look, feel and sometimes sound like the real thing. From a distance it is difficult to tell a real gun from a water gun or toy pistol. There is no room in the school setting for second guessing. It is the school’s responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff.  Bomb-making materials or explosive devices are likewise prohibited.

    The principal of the high school commented that ongoing education about simulated weapons will be provided including the consequences for violating the policies. There have been cases across the country where discipline has been imposed for everything from a cardboard cut-out of a gun to toy soldiers carrying weapons. In light of Columbine, Red Lake Senior High School, Virginia Tech and other tragedies, schools have to take these situations seriously.

    Find out more about zero-tolerance in schools.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    2 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Tulsa Divorce Lawyers
      Wed, 02 Nov 2011 at 09:14

      My commonsense tells me that simulated weapons are not dangerous in and of themselves, but their appearance has a very dangerous effect on others. We iive in a era of vigilance. Ever since the Columbine shootings in 1999, our schools’ faculty and staff have taken extra precautions – they cannot afford to take chances. If it looks like a weapon, then they have to take action in order to protect themselves and their student bodies.

    • Askthejudge.info
      Thu, 03 Nov 2011 at 12:41

      New blog post: Pellet gun at school violates zero-tolerance policy http://t.co/4R0Dr0tq

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