School Violence

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A rise in school violence is a cause for concern, but school officials aren't too nervous.

We send our children to school each day to learn, hoping they are safe and secure. However, as we've seen over the last few months, sometimes things happen to make us second guess just how safe our schools are.

Local schools are not immune. In less than a week, four incidents happened in the Bay District Schools, which some claim are cause for concern.

On October 23 a Rutherford High School student was arrested for battery on a school official.

On the 25 a Rosenwald Middle School student and a St. Andrews student were arrested for the very same thing, just two days later.

On Monday, a Lynn Haven Elementary School student took a knife to school, which brought on several serious penalties.

"Here at Rutherford High School we're told two girls were fighting. An administrator was kicked while trying to break up the fight. She was suspended according to the standard procedure, but since she has a clean record, school officials say they are not recommending she be expelled," explained Rutherford official.

A similar incident happened at Rosenwald. Reportedly, a cafeteria worker tried breaking up a fight and was hit with an unintentional punch.

Monday’s incident at Lynn Haven Elementary had a different tone. Allegedly, two girls had conflicts off-campus and one girl brought a rather large knife to school.

Supervisor of Student Services Joan Harris explained the situation, saying, "The child brought the knife on the school bus and other students saw it. Then the student brought the knife into the cafeteria and again, it was seen by other students. At that point, the student changed her mind or determined she wasn't going to have it, so she threw it into a trash receptacle."

The school is recommending the seven-year-old girl be expelled.

At St. Andrews School, a fifth grader reportedly became angry and pushed their teacher in retaliation to discipline. However, we are told this incident will probably not warrant an expulsion.

"If it is a part of their disability, for example, then there are certain things we can do," a St. Andrews School official said.

Regardless of how the violence happened, the Bay District Schools have programs in place to help students hopefully think before acting.

Bay District Superintendent James McCalister explained, "We also have Character Education in our schools. We have Conflict Resolution for our students so they know that if we teach them that if they're having a conflict with another student, how to resolve that without getting physical with the other students."

Although schools have programs teaching them how to deal with conflicts, it doesn't keep them from happening.

Isolated, these incidents wouldn't be that big of a deal, but the fact that the four things occurred within days of each other is cause for alarm.

However, Superintendent McCalister assures parents, the Bay District Schools are a safe and nurturing place for students.

He said, "Ninety eight percent of our students come to school and you have no problems what so ever."

Those students recommended for expulsion will go before the Bay District School Board for a hearing before the child is officially removed from their school.