School Defends Long Term Suspension of Students For Playing With Air Soft Gun: It’s For The Children, Even the Suspended Ones

teaching him a lesson by kicking him out of schoolWAVYThe Virginia middle school that handed down a “long-term suspension” to two students the school claims were playing with an air soft gun in the vicinity of a school bus stop is defending the decision. The two seventh graders were suspended from the school for the remainder of the year after a hearing this week, and another hearing in January will determine whether the two students can return to the school. The parents say the move feels like an expulsion; one child will be sent to an alternative school this year, the other will be homeschooled.

The principal of the school released a statement yesterday defending the disciplinary action by claiming a child “only 10 feet away” was hit despite running away from “shots being fired” (from an air soft gun). The use of a “firearm” by the kids was provided as as the original reason for their suspension, though that term did not appear in the statement by the principal, who argued the kids are being long-term suspended for their own good:

As the principal of Larkspur Middle School, I am responsible for the safety of students and will take all appropriate actions to ensure that the students using the pellet guns are appropriately disciplined and held responsible for their conduct. It is my sincere hope that they will learn important life lessons; the most important being that there will be consequences when they do things that can result in harm to another person. Given the opportunity, teachers, administrators and our entire community should always be willing to step forward to protect one another. This was a dangerous situation that involved the intervention of law enforcement, the Office of Safety and Loss Control and our school administration. I trust that parents and the public will support our actions which were taken with safety in mind.

Will the public support its actions? The parents of the students involved certainly don’t, and the school doesn’t appear to be backing away from the decidedly hoplophobic stance that a toy gun is a danger to boys being boys.

Read the whole statement here (pdf).

h/t David Monington

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  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    It is my sincere hope that they will learn important life lessons; the most important being that there will be consequences when they do things that can result in harm to another person.

    Unless that life lesson is, "Government institutions will arbitrarily punish you even in areas where it has no jurisdiction," it's pretty much a total loss.

  • ||

    I thought that lesson was, "You better get a good union, so you don't have to deal with consequences when you do things that can result in harm to children."

  • Rasilio||

    I don't think school principals are covered by the Union, reasonably they should be considered part of Management.

  • Drake||

    The Lesson is: "Never put yourself under the control of arbitrary bureaucrats."

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Considering that they were nowhere near the school, or even on the bus, perhaps it is "You are always under the control of arbitrary bureaucrats."

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    I have absolutely no doubt they will learn important lessons from this.

  • sarcasmic||

    the most important being that there will be consequences when they do things that can result in harm to another person.

    The only way to possibly harm a person with one of those things would be to hit them with it.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I wonder if they would suspend a student for September through June (what is that, 93% of a school year?) if they caught him throwing a rock at another student.

  • ||

    Lasky: That's not a real gun, is it Clark?
    Clark: Are you kidding? This is a Magnum P.I.
    Lasky: It's a BB gun!
    Clark: Don't try me. I could put an eye out with this thing.
    Lasky: You couldn't even break the skin with that thing.
    Clark: It could! It could! It could break the skin! It could lodge under the skin and cause a very bad infection.

  • Seamus||

    Well, there is still the possibility that you'll put your eye out, kid.

  • Brett L||

    The kid in the picture is wearing eye protection adequate do deflect an Airsoft pellet.

  • Jordan||

    Fists are far more dangerous than airsoft guns, and I guarantee that the penalty for fist fighting is nowhere near this draconian.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It is my sincere hope that they will learn important life lessons

    OBEY

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Homeschool them both for the remainder of their teen years and declare the suspension the best thing that could have happened. It will drive school administrators nuts.

  • TANSTaaFL||

    Just to clarify: In many states, it is almost against the law to home school your kids if you feel the schools do not provide a good education, but if you want to send your kid to public schools and they like playing with toy guns, you will be forced to homeschool. Got it.

  • RBS||

    The Homeschool Loop Hole

  • ||

    That is what I was thinking. If you want to home-school your kids, send them to school with a plastic knife. Since the PHd's that run these schools are fucking idiots, they will expel you child, and 'shazam' you can homeschool.

  • Tonio||

    Just to clarify: In many states, it is almost against the law to home school your kids...

    Handy chart hier.

  • Bryan C||

    Seriously. In schools like this, expulsion should be viewed as an Act of Providence.

    Take it and run before they change their tiny little minds.

  • John||

    This was a dangerous situation that involved the intervention of law enforcement, the Office of Safety and Loss Control and our school administration.

    It was an airsoft gun. Congratulations, you just made your own real life Onion Article.

  • ||

    I know nothing about Airsoft guns. But this looks cool. OMG Full Auto. How'd that pass under the BANHAMMER? And I love this quote:

    Muzzle velocities of up to 200 fps make it ideal for back yard skirmishes.

    I need a bigger back yard.

  • Tonio||

    200 fps sounds impressive, but the rounds slow down pretty quick since they are spherical (vice bullet-shaped) and plastic (lightweight). Force equals mass times velocity and plastic is mass-challenged compared to copper or lead.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Still, I wish they'd had those when I was a kid.

  • Tonio||

    Oh, hell yes!

  • Shmenge||

    Force equals mass times acceleration, not velocity.

  • Tonio||

    Oops. Thanks. Derp.

  • Zenjuris||

    No, force is equal to the product of (i) mass multiplied by (ii) velocity squared. F = MV^2.

  • Zenjuris||

    My bad, Shmenge is correct. Force is mass times acceleration.

  • Wizard4169||

    Correct. F=MA. Kinetic energy is 1/2 Mass times Velocity squared. E=.5MV²

  • ||

    For perspective, paintball guns operate at 280-300 fps and fire a 68 caliber ball that weights around 3.5 grams.

    A real pellet rifle can fire at 1,000 fps+

    These things are the modern equivalent of cap guns.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Honestly, and I hate to give them ideas, the real problem with airsofts is those little yellow balls are 100% not biodegradable and soon all of suburbia will be buried in a sea of bbs.

  • Tonio||

    Don't say BB's, say plastic pellets. We must be very careful with language when dealing with hoplophobic hysterics. They are allowed to conflate a muzzle loader with an AR-15, but if we make even a trivial mistake they will seize upon it and say "see, they are pellet guns".

  • Bryan C||

    You know what other gun shoots so-called pellets? The AR-15 Shotgun.

  • sgs||

    The ones I use are in fact biodegradeable.

  • Tonio||

    Cap guns, at least the ones I had as a kid, were specifically designed to not fire projectiles. The barrels all had cast-in blocks that would permit the gas to pas, but you couldn't stuff anything into the barrel. (Note these were the plastic caps, not the paper ones; basically a gun such as used to signal the start of races, etc).

  • R C Dean||

    This was a dangerous situation that involved the intervention of law enforcement, the Office of Safety and Loss Control and our school administration.

    I took that to mean that it was a dangerous situation because of the intervention of law enforcement. It certainly wasn't dangerous until the real weapons showed up, and we all know who brought them.

  • Tonio||

    Bravo!

  • ||

    Totality of circs, procedures were followed, etc etc.

  • John||

    It is too bad people like Jon Stewart or leftist government loving crap weasels. This is where culture and ridicule could come in very handy. Make this asshole a national laughing stock and subject him to repeated humiliation and I bet he would think twice about doing this in the future.

  • sarcasmic||

    That would require shame, and a requirement for such a job is having no shame whatsoever.

  • John||

    They don't have shame, but they have ego and that works just as well. He wouldn't feel bad that he did it. He would be devastated that people were making fun of him and he was made into a joke for doing his job. He would never admit he was wrong or be ashamed of it. But the effect on his ego would be so great, he would never do such a thing again and spend the rest of his life telling people how he is now unable to do his job because of all the mean people out there.

  • RBS||

    So you want the guy to sue the country for creating a HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT?

  • Rhywun||

    Not a chance in hell this makes it on Jon Stewart. Who wants to watch it and find out?

  • ||

    Somehow ironic that if a kid at the same school had gotten knocked up she could have pursued an abortion with the school's assistance and without notifying her parents. At least we're safe from the scourge of inner city airsoft gun violence though...

  • Tonio||

    Wow, somebody's all butt-hurt. That's the thing about you fetus fanciers, you have to work that in to every conversation. This is the clinical definition of obsession. Get. Help. Now.

  • ||

    Wow, somebody's all butt-hurt.

    Yeah, it appears to be you.

    My point was that the school's idea of what is and is not its business seems fairly convoluted in that both playing with airsoft guns and playing with unprotected dicks, to the extent it occurs off school property, seem to be treated entirely differently.

    This is the clinical definition of obsession.

    Totally bro. If I were any more obsessed I might totally miss the forest for the trees and nitpick an issue that had relatively nothing to do with the actual point...

  • Slammer||

    the Office of Safety and Loss Control.

    Fixed.

  • Fluffy||

    If a school administrator ever attempts to control what I let my kid do on my own property, they're dead.

    It's that simple.

    I'll make my estate judgment proof, and I will kill them.

  • ||

    This was a dangerous situation that involved the intervention of law enforcement, the Office of Safety and Loss Control and our school administration. I trust that parents and the public will support our actions which were taken with safety in mind.

    I can't think of anything sufficiently snarky to say because I know that most people will agree that this was a dangerous situation and will support the situation.

  • John||

    Really the worst thing about this whole thing is not that the offense such as it was is so minor. The worst part is that the school feels that the only way it can be handled is through suspension. The idea that telling these kids they can't shoot air soft guns at the bus stop anymore is a proper reaction never occurs to these pin heads. All they know is the hammer. Pathetic.

  • John Thacker||

    Even a short-term suspension would have been an overreaction, but jumping until the end of the year? Madness.

  • ||

    No, the worst part of this whole thing is that the kids weren't on school grounds or school transportation, or even in public, nor were they even on the school's time, and somehow the school still feels this is their business.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Yeah, the idea that schools can punish kids for things they do (or even just say/tweet) outside of school is something I would classify as literally insane.

  • CatoTheElder||

    +1 for correct use of literally

  • John||

    They were at a bus stop. I can understand how the school could say "kids have to behave themselves waiting for a bus". Suppose they had beaten another kid at the bus stop, would a suspension been in order then? I think so.

    The problem here is the ridiculous nature of the "offense".

  • Auric Demonocles||

    They were "in the vicinity of" a bus stop... on their own front lawn.

  • ||

  • John||

    I can't tell. Where they waiting for the bus? If so, then I can see them being subject to school rules. If not and they were just playing on their own time, then yes, that is the most outrageous part.

    Subjecting kids to school rules 24 7 like they are in the military or something is insane. I agree.

  • Brian D||

    Kids were playing before school while waiting for the bus in one of the kids' front yard nearly a football field's length away from the bus stop.

  • ||

    This seems to be the size of it. If the school has jurisdiction here, it's hard to imagine a situation involving kids between 6 AM and 5 PM that they wouldn't have jurisdiction.

  • ||

    (in response to Brian D)

  • John||

    Then fuck the school. Not close enough. It is a close call concerning school authority over a bus stop. I can see the argument both ways. But regardless, even if they had been on school grounds this case would be outrageous.

  • Rhywun||

    Also, a "school bus stop" is in my experience nothing more than an agreed upon place to wait for the bus. There is nothing marking it, nor anything else magical about it.

  • PD Scott||

    Obviously, then, we need to make sure that bus stops have the same legal status and protection as schools. Imagine how many dopers we could load additional punishment on if they were caught less than 1500 feet from a bus stop.

  • mr simple||

    From the statement:


    Because students were on their way to or at a school bus stop when they were struck by pellets, the school division has jurisdiction to take disciplinary actions against those students responsible for the disruption. There is an
    expectation that all students should be able to travel to and from school in the safest environment possible.

    Someone was walking by to go to the bus stop and got distracted and put in no danger whatsoever. So all it takes for the school to assert its authority is for students to be thinking about school when the action occurs. I suppose the school would try an adult or student not from their district if they caused the disruption.

  • Adam330||

    This issue seems to be a matter of dispute. The school says they were at the bus stop (and say they have witnesses to that effect), and the kids and parents say they were on their property 70 yards away from the bus stop.

  • ||

    I disagree. I don't give a fuck whether they were at the bus stop or not. The school's authority ends at its property line. If an assault occurs at the bus stop, that is a matter for the pigs, not the school.

  • ||

    Have to agree here. If it occurred *on* the bus, then yeah, the school's got a fair shot.

  • Wizard4169||

    Yep. If they were on school grounds or even under the supervision of school personnel, that would be one thing, but this is just overreach, pure and simple.

  • R C Dean||

    Suppose they had beaten another kid at the bus stop, would a suspension been in order then?

    The critical fact isn't where the beating occurs, it seems to me, but the fact that a beating occurred at all.

    I can see a school suspending anybody who assaults someone else (assuming its a "real" assault and not rough-housing, of course), regardless of where it occurs.

  • Tonio||

    Don't tell that to Bo Cara, Esq(tm), as the penumbra of the school's authoritay extends to the moment they cross their doorsteps.

  • RBS||

    Poor Bo. He couldn't fit the stereotype of the obnoxious, know it all 1L any better if he tried. Which is a shame since he's supposedly a 2L.

  • Mainer2||

    He always seems so concerned, doesn't he. Very very concerned. Not saying he's a troll...just that he's always so concerned.

  • ||

    If is is only a 2L, then why is he calling himself Esq? That is kind of fucked up. He should have to wait until he passes a bar exam like the rest of us. And if he is only a 2L, that makes his feeble attempts at the socratic method even more punchable in the face worthy.

  • ||

  • Yar||

    Way back when I was a newly minted associate at BigLaw, I can recall a partner on a litigation matter lecturing opposing counsel, in a letter, on his self-applied use of "Esq." According to this partner, "Esq." is an honorific that others can use to politely address a lawyer, but that a lawyer should never apply to himself.

    I took three things from this. 1) I was never going to use Esq. with my own name; 2) This partner in all likelihood billed a client for time spent needling opposing counsel; 3) lawyers can be dicks on a level that normal humans may find hard to comprehend.

  • Seamus||

    The idea that lawyers are entitled to append "Esquire" to their names but the rest of us (or at least the rest of us landed gentry) aren't is just one of the more ridiculous claims with which the profession has tried to hoodwink the public.

  • FYTW||

    The dude is like the bastard offspring of Tulpa and an obnoxious gunner 1L. He should do the world a fucking favor and set himself on fire.

  • Brian D||

    The original WAVY article says the yard they were playing in was 70 yards from the bus stop.

  • Tonio||

    Also, not "pellet guns" under the traditional meaning. Not sure whether he's ignorant, or deliberately conflating toy airsoft guns with non-toy pellet guns. Suspect deliberate conflation to make himself sound less silly and pompous.

    Also, here are some talking points for those of you not familiar with these technologies:

    Airsoft guns are toy guns, usually gas-powered, which fire plastic ammunition, either solid spheres or paint-filled spheres (paintball). It is possible to injure a human eye with one, particularly if fired at close range. Airsoft toys fire 6mm (.236 caliber) or 8mm (.315 caliber) plastic ammo. Always describe as "toys."

    Pellet guns are gas-powered, non-lethal (for humans) weapons which fire .177 caliber or .22 caliber metal spheres, pellets or darts, and are used for target practice or hunting of very small game (birds, squirrels and similar-sized animals). These are not firearms in that they use stored compressed gas to propel the rounds; actual firearms use combustion to propel the rounds.

  • John||

    He is ignorant. Guns have become a tar baby for some people. Kids get suspended for drawing guns or in case carving his pop tart into something that could be a gun or in another a little girl shooting bubbles at another kid.

    It is not rational. It is the same sort of irrationality that causes people to burn witches. They are confronted with a reality that for whatever reason they can't understand or cope with (in this case the danger of a school shooting) so there response is to direct all of their anxiety towards a person or an object. This sort of thing has been going on for all of history. It is like some kind of hard wired response in some people. These people have channeled their anxiety towards guns.

    It doesn't matter to this guy that it is a nerf gun or bubble gun or a .44 magnum. They are all guns and equally to blame.

  • ||

    It doesn't matter to this guy that it is a nerf gun or bubble gun or a .44 magnum. They are all guns and equally to blame.

    Most of these priciples are Phds. I take it that you don't have to have any critical thinking skills to get a PHd in education. I wonder if they have to take indoctrination...er... I mean pedagogy classes.

  • John||

    Have you met an ed major? Whatever critical thinking skills this guy had, were removed during the process of getting the ed degree much less the PHD.

  • ||

    Can't say that I have. Probably a good idea.

  • Mainer2||

    That little girl only threatened to shoot bubbles with her Hello Kitty bubble gun, which she didn't have with her, it was at home. So, even more insane.

  • John||

    But same principle. She said the word "gun". Even the word has killing power.

  • Cyto||

    You pretend that Columbine never happened. And now Sandy Ridge. Your attitude kills children!

    Mothers these days worry about characters on TV saying "idiot" or "stupid". You are never going to win over these folks. Remember, that girl who was with the President got killed by a gun! People like you killed her because you want to buy an AK-47 from Wal-Mart.

  • Adam.||

    speaking of walmart, my local just remodeled the sporting goods area with a much larger and nicer guns and ammo section; smart people.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Even the word has killing power.


    Usal no longer needs the weirding module.
  • Cliché Bandit||

    preview preview preview

    DAMNIT!!!

  • Robert||

    No, I bet if the kids were working on some constr'n project with a nail gun and accidentally hit one of them within 10' of where the bus was supposed to pick them up, and injury resulted, they wouldn't've gotten into this much trouble. Why? Because nails aren't fun.

  • ||

    90% of the airsoft guns sold are spring action replicas of popular pistols. The gas models are for the neckbeard milsim guys who like to play Navy Seal on the weekends. You can pick up a spring model at Wal Mart for like 15 bucks. I have 3 or 4 of them when I was in junior high.

  • ||

    Said all that and forgot to add my main point: the spring models shoot all of like 150 fps. I've been shot by them at point blank and not had a bruise the next day.

  • Brian D||

    Dear god, please tell me the shooter or shooters are safely rotting away in prison!

  • Rhywun||

    Jesus, I'm glad my fainting couch was nearby.

  • Tonio||

    Needs moar aborshun butt-hurt.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Wow, somebody's all butt-hurt. That's the thing about you fetus fanciers, you have to work that in to every conversation. This is the clinical definition of obsession. Get. Help. Now.

  • Tonio||

    Lunch spewed over monitor. Well-played.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Airsoft guns are toy guns, usually gas-powered

    Did you mean spring powered? There are gas powered airsoft guns, but the ones the kids use are almost always spring powered.

  • WTF||

    Yeah, the gas powered ones can shoot 300fps or better, but they are usually too expensive for kids.

  • Tonio||

    I've only played with one when they first came out, owned by a paint-baller, and that was gas-powered. I threw in the "usually" to allow for the possibility of spring-powered models. I'm really not sure what the sales of spring- vs gas-powered is. Turns out there are also electric-powered ones (magnetically driven piston, I think).

    But, yeah, spring-powered sounds less threatening than gas-powered (at least I think it does, but I can't get inside the mindset of hoplophobes.

    Does anyone here actually do paintball sports and can speak to this.

  • ||

    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    I've had enough of this despotism. The principal should be dragged outside his house and watch it torched to the ground.

  • CatoTheElder||

    In a just society of free men and women, the townsfolk would burn him in effigy and afford him to leave town voluntarily in shame.

    Your solution should only be applied after he was given such opportunity. If he refused, of course, the burning of the house should only occur after he had been properly tarred and feathered, and before his being ridden out of town on a rail.

    Of course, slaves cannot do such to their masters.

  • ||

    In a just society of free men and women, the townsfolk would burn him in effigy

    It would be very convenient if the next town over were named "Effigy."

  • Seamus||

    This terroristic threat is being reported to the Department of Homeland Security and the City of Virginia Beach Police.

  • ||

    Because students were on their way to or at a school bus stop when they were struck by pellets, the school division has jurisdiction to take disciplinary actions against those students responsible for the disruption.

    When the childrenz woke up in their Buzz Lightyear pajamas, the childrenz were waking up in preparation to go to school. And, thus according to this logic, the school would have jurisdiction over their conduct. So where does the school's jurisdiction stop?

  • PD Scott||

    Graduation.

  • Tonio||

    Regrettably, yes. But surely the schools must be empowered to have jurisdiction over pre-schoolers to make sure they are properly prepared and socialized for the houses o' learning.

  • Bryan C||

    Or not. High schools seem to have recently discovered the authority to revoke diplomas post-graduation.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It is my sincere hope that they will learn important life lessons

    One, petty bureaucrats are petty. And petulant. Two, regulations are nebulous enough and fertile enough for tyranny to take root and blossom, as amply demonstrated in the present case. Three, placing your children in the hands of these petty bureaucrats/tyrants is a form of mental and emotional (and depending on the school, physical) abuse and a disservice to any hope of them ever learning to think rationally.

  • Tonio||

    I mostly agree with you, but my experience with public school (after being privately schooled) was complete contempt for the bureaucratic mindset and snivelling incompetence of most public school administrators and teachers.

  • ||

    I read your name as Tony for a second and was like "Whoa, Tony is agreeing with someone here about public school?"

  • ||

    “I am responsible for the safety of students and will take all appropriate actions to ensure … that there will be consequences when they do things that can result in harm to another person.”

    Now get out there and play some football.

  • Invisible Finger||

    one child will be sent to an alternative school this year, the other will be homeschooled.

    So why is anyone upset? Sounds like good news all around.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    If I had a son, he would look like this.

  • FYTW||

    It is my sincere hope that they will learn important life lessons; the most important being that there will be consequences when they do things that can result in harm to another person.

    And it is my sincere hope that you get your genitals chewed off by a pack of rabid wolverines, you contemptible officious asswipe.

  • Wizard4169||

    Geez, dude, what do you have against wolverines?

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