Suspension, expulsion, and other forms of punishment, have been taken against students following harmless actions, and even acts of sheer heroism. A sixth grader from Virginia Beach, Virginia by the name of Adrionna Harris was suspended from school recently for stepping in to stop a kid from cutting himself with a razor. Now, Harris faces possible expulsion.
Tom Schaad from Wavy News says parents like to teach their children “honesty” so that they can do the right thing. Harris is said to have just taken the razor from the student and thrown it away. Her mother claims Harris believed what he was doing was wrong, and believed it was a “911 situation,” not teacher was in sight.
A ten-day suspension from school with a recommendation of expulsion followed this act of heroism. “I was just trying to help,” she says during an interview with the media. When asked if she would do it all over again if she knew she was going to get in trouble, she replied that she would, because it was the right thing to do.
School staff ignored Harris’ mother’s attempts to contact them for more information. The investigative reporter decided to step in, attempted to make a phone call, then drove to Bayside Middle School where the incident had occurred. Because of this, Mrs. Harris claims the school is now in contact with the mother. The hearing has been moved up several days, where Harris and the facts of the case can be fully explained once again. The mother hopes her daughter can return back to school.
A similar case occurred in Fort Myers, Florida, almost one year ago, when a 16-year-old student wrestled away a loaded gun from a potential shooter. At Cypress Lake High School, a student was punished for three days of suspension for his intervention. The incident allegedly occurred on the school bus where the assailant was in an argument with another boy, threatening to shoot him, while the third-party jumped in and managed to strip the gun from him.
Witnesses said the suspect was aiming a .22 caliber revolver, threatening to fire. School authorities claimed to have suspended the boy for simply being involved in the incident. Though he has not been publicly identified, witnesses claim that there was no doubt he was going to fire the gun, which could have potentially ended a life.
Other cases of misconstrued conduct have occurred over the course of several years at various schools. Even in England, just in 2012, two boys were suspended for conducting a charity effort, which was sponsored by their teacher. Joe Moon and Billy Howard chose to shave their heads to raise 500 euros for St. Luke’s Hospice in Basildon, Essex. They were given permission from the school and were sponsored by a head teacher. Reportedly, coming in with shaved heads provoked a teacher in ordering the boys into isolation as punishment.
An article from The Child Study Center describes how schools have enacted “zero tolerance” polices in response to perceived threats in communities. These policies create strict punishments for students engaging in activities that school officials deem intolerable in regard to guns, drugs, and violence. Schools and communities are doing what they can to feel safe when allowing children into a public environment. There is often criticism if policies are too lenient, and also if policies are too harsh. A common ground is seemingly hard to reach, since suspension or expulsion from school allegedly follows such acts of perceived heroism.
By Lindsey Alexander