Will Assailant Return To School?

| October 8, 2010 | 12 Comments

Will the assailants who sent a teen to shock trauma after a beating be allowed to return to school in ten days? Based on a tip and silence from the school, it seems like it might be a possibility.

Earlier today, we received a tip that at least one of the students responsible for the attack that sent a South River High School sophomore to Shock-Trauma in a helicopter may indeed be returning to school after serving a ten day suspension–likely before the victim is released from the Intensive Care Unit at Shock Trauma.

According to the Student Code of Conduct, which every student and parent is required to sign at the beginning of each year, an “attack” is defined:

The Code of Student Conduct defines attack as any unprovoked aggressive action toward another person. There are four categories of attacks:
Category I: Physical attack causing serious physical injury.
Category II: A physical attack causing minor physical injury.
Category III: A physical attack without injury.
Category IV: (threats) Intentionally frightening another person with the threat of immediate offensive physical contact or physical harm.

It further defines a “fight”:

The Code of Student Conduct defines fighting as “an incident involving two or more students with physical contact, such as hitting, kicking punching. Verbal fighting is further defined as “a verbal confrontation with no physical contact.”

The consequences are also clearly spelled out. A physical attack causing severe physical injury is considered a Category 1 Offense punishable by a Level 6 punishment—expulsion.

Anne Arundel County Schools Code Of Conduct

The tip received was deemed to be credible, so we attempted to contact the school to find out if this was indeed true and if so, why such a blatant exception to the Code of Conduct was being made. We called Principal William T. Myers on three separate occasions and the main phone went unanswered. Although he likely would have referred us to the school district spokesman, we gave it a try. When we were unsuccessful, we contacted Anne Arundel County Public School’s spokesman, Bob Mosier. Citing privacy concerns he declined to comment specifically on the individual case. However, Mosier did say that it was up to the individual school to define the incident and to discipline as appropriate.

This begs the question is Principal Myers is playing with words and definitions again? The wording in the initial report certainly downplayed the severity of the beating by using words like “medical assistance”, “incident”, and “altercation.” Is this a loophole in the policy that will allow individual schools to classify one infraction as another to preserve a reputation or look good on a report?

Clearly when a student is flown in a helicopter from the school as a result of the beating he received while at school, it merits more than a slap on the wrist and a ten day suspension.

To put this in perspective, the students responsible for the attack could also have received a ten day suspension for any of the following violations:

  • Cheating or Plagiarism
  • Possession or Consumption of drugs or alcohol (although if they were distributing it woudl be an expulsion)
  • Using an ethnic, racial or other biases slur more than once
  • Bullying or Cyberbullying
  • Inappropriate language, sexual harassment, or disrespect to others
  • Arson, use of matches/lighters, and destruction of property
  • Insubordination
  • Leaving school grounds without permission
  • Smoking at school 3 or more times
  • Possession of weapons

With loop holes like this, how can parents and students even have a reasonable assurance of safety.

Since the School is not commenting, the only way to know for sure is if the student indeed returns in ten days. But in the meantime, parents who are upset about this need to make their voices heard. Call the school (if they answer the phone) or send an email to the Superintendent or the School Board.  When it comes to attacks of this magnitude, there needs to be a zero tolerance policy.

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Category: NEWS, OPINION

About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009. John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.