On January 10, a sixth grader at the Darby Township School in Darby Township, Pennsylvania was attacked by two bullies and suffered a broken nose and a concussion as a result. A few days later, he started having seizures, and was placed in a medically-induced coma. The DelcoTimes indicated that, as of February 8, this student had been in a coma for over two weeks. Since then, the coma lasted another two weeks. http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/.... Fortunately, it appears that the student is now out of the coma, although still in recovery.
Unfortunately, the punishment meted out by the school for this attack on a student - which left that student with a broken nose and over four weeks of being in a coma - was a measly 2-day suspension. What you'd expect a student to get for showing up late to classes a few times or talking back to a teacher. Not what you'd expect a student to get for a particularly brutal attack, even as assaults and batteries go.
And it doesn't seem like Darby Township School principal Ashwina Mosakowski and district superintendent Stephen Butz have followed their own policies in meting out such a trivial punishment. Darby Township schools provides for four levels of infractions, and reads, in pertinent part:
Violence to another person or property posing a direct threat to the safety of others and is clearly criminal in nature may include but is not limited to the following:If this incident didn't necessitate expulsion, or at least more than a mere 2-days suspension, one can't help but wonder what might? If this doesn't merit the maximum penalty, what exactly would? If a student threatened to hit someone with a fake weapon, would the school have treated that so leniently? If, instead of sending someone into a coma, the bullies had been caught bringing marijuana into school, would their punishment be a mere 2-day suspension? What if they had pulled a fire-alarm? What does that say about our priorities?
- Possession, use and/or transfer of weapons (real, fake or suggestive of) (Act 256 of 1995)
- Sale and/or transfer of unauthorized substances (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, chemicals, etc.)
- Major theft (includes possession and/or sale of stolen property)
- Arson in or around school buildings or on school buses
- Tampering with fire alarms and/or extinguishers
- False fire alarms and/or bomb threats
- Breaking and entering
- Assault/battery to teachers and other students
- Any other criminal acts committed at school or during school related activities
The disciplinary options that may be used include:
- Parent Conference
- Out-of-School Suspension (Up to 10 days)
- Referral to School Police and Authorities with possible citation
- Additional Outside Agencies as needed
- Alternative Placement In/Out of the District
- Restitution of Property and Damages
- Other Appropriate Board Action
On the plus side, NBC reports that police are now investigating this attack. Although whether they actually do something about it, or try to sweep it under the rug like the school administrators have, remains to be seen.
And, in other news, bullying victims are over 4 times as likely to develop many psychological disorders lasting into adulthood than non-bullied students. http://www.chicagotribune.com/... But I suppose that such things aren't as important as someone pulling a fire-alarm.