So, my question was whether Virginia Beach Schools has a legal responsibility for the safety of the students at the bus stop. This is what I found.
First, I found that the rules were not the same everywhere.
So, does Eileen Cox mean a legal responsibility? That's my question. I find it interesting that one of these kids was already getting into trouble on a constant basis for doing things that made students unsafe. That doesn't mean the school system should have disciplined him for what took place near the bus stop, but it does suggest he's not an innocent victim.Quote:
A parent of one of the students said the boys were firing the pellet guns on private property and should never have been disciplined by the school system.
But Eileen Cox, a spokeswoman for the 68,000-student Virginia Beach, Virginia, school system, said it has responsibility for students' safety to and from school.
School officials said one of the boys had been disciplined six times over the past 18 months for bullying, harassment and fighting that caused injuries.
But this still doesn't completely answer my question.
From the website of Virginia Attorney General:
This is under the responsibilities of the student.
So, there you have it from a government official.Quote:
ollow school conduct expectations and rules set forth in the school division’s Student Code of Conduct (remember: these apply on the bus to and from school and at school-sponsored activities – even away from school and outside school hours);
Then, it goes over the rules. Would being at the bus stop be considered a school sponsored activity?Quote:
School officials are required by Virginia law to report the following offenses to law enforcement agencies if these offenses occur on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity:
And they say it once again.
So, I would think it's important to take these issues to Virginia legislature. Demand clarity.Quote:
It is important to understand that your code of student conduct applies not only when you are on school grounds but also when you are on the bus going to and from school and at schools-ponsored activities, even when the activity is away from school or at another school.
The rules don't apply until you step inside the school bus. For instance if a child was chewing gum at the bus stop and gum was not allowed on the bus, he could not get in trouble for chewing gum if he spit out the gum before getting on the bus.
"School sponsored" simply means extra curricular and education based activities such as sports, dances, banquets, field trips, organizations and clubs.
Also, the claims that the students had been disciplined for bullying in school is irrelevent. The issue is whether the school can suspend them for actions in their own home, where they are under the authority of their parents. One can argue that if a student is arrested, then the school can remove them for the safety of other students, but that goes back to the initial character of the arrest, which involved possession and use of a toy during play. The police should have simply told the kids to put the guns away and told the neighbor to mind her own business. An arrest was completely unwarranted.
Several years back (okay, decades), I put together a Halloween costume which included a wooden parade rifle; I was dressed as a classic GI Joe, complete with Kung Fu grip (I had a lever on my sleave). While I was on my way to the party, a cop stopped me, looked at the rifle, and let me go on. That was the correct response. Today, a kid who was in my shoes would be arrested and booked. That's idiotic.
If anyone was ever shaky on the term mindless, this kind of reaction should clear up any confusion. This is the reason for these idiotic zero tolerance policies. They remove any thought process and just live by an umbrella policy. This further proves that liberalism is a mental disorder.
Some additional facts:
1. There were two 911 callers, not just one.
The first 911 call was the woman described above. She knew the guns were fake because her son was playing with Khalid and Aidan in an airsoft gun war in the front yard. Aidan shot the 911 caller's son in the arm. The second caller, however, didn't know if the guns were real or not and called 911. This second caller did demonstrate that one child, Aidan, left private property and went out into the street.
To me it's odd that one of the 911 callers was the mother of a kid playing with the toy guns. What was her motivation? The other caller didn't seem to know that the guns were toys. I find myself wondering how aggressively these boys were playing to frighten two people into calling the police, especially one parent who knew the guns were fake. Maybe it was her way of dealing with the aggressiveness of the other boys toward her kid? Hard to tell.Quote:
However, a second 911 call from a different caller on Sept. 12 is what schools officials say led to the investigation and then suspensions. WAVY.com was unaware of the second 911 call on Monday, during our first report of the incident...
" ... the white child appeared to have a gun, and he was chasing the other child ... when he saw me he kind of stuck it in his pants. I don't know if it was a toy or if they were playing," said the 911 caller in the Sept. 12 call.
The caller was speaking about 12-year-old Aidan Clark, who admits he ran off Caraballo's property into the street in front of Khalid's house.
2. Virginia Beach actually has a law against using air guns too near buildings
The law is apparently a little fuzzy and not often enforced, but it is in the code. Khalid and Aidan officially broke a law and the school can use this in their case. Aidan, in fact, left private property and went out into the street. However, the police didn't charge any of the boys.
The complete text of the law is at the link.Quote:
The Virginia Beach City Code isn't clear, and goes back and forth. It reads no person "shall ... discharge any firearm, spring-propelled rifle or pistol ... within ... 150 yards of any building." Then it reads "no person shall use a pneumatic gun except at approved shooting ranges or within private property."
...However, the Code also requires shooting with "permission of the owner." In this case, the parent is the owner, and she did not give her son, Khalid, permission to fire the gun. He disobeyed her.
"How dare he disobey me, but this is a home issue. It's not a school issue, and it won't happen again. He will never do this again," Solangel said while looking back at Khalid with a stern face.
3. One kid (Khalid) had a disciplinary record at school.
Khalid has been disciplined 6 times in 18 months for harassment, fighting, bullying that has become "increasingly aggressive" and has "resulted in injuries." One fight got him a three-day suspension. Khalid claims self defense and the older kid in the fight with him got a 5-day suspension. I am prepared to believe that this kid is no angel, despite the sweater vest he wears in the news reports, and that the school might have wanted an excuse to get rid of him. The school's principal certainly wanted him expelled, but the school board just gave long term suspensions with the possibility of being allowed back in sooner. Khalid's mother signed a waver, which is why the school released the suspension record. However Aidan's parents did not, so we don't know what Aidan's disciplinary record is.
Whether or not these issues played a part in the decision of the school isn't clear. The school board keeps talking about student safety, but there's no evidence that the kids were shooting anyone other than each other. Either the school is overreating and overreaching because toy guns were involved or the principal really wants these kids expelled for other reasons and saw the opportunity with this incident. Hard to tell.
Elspeth, what's missing is the absurdity of kids can't even play with toy guns anymore.
I agree that there is more to it than what is in the stories, especially given the vehemence of the school officials, but given what we do know, the incident does not justify the response, and using a non-incident to justify a punishment for something else is pretty tyrannical.