Sixth-Grade Virginia Girl Gets Zero-Toleranced For Saving Classmate From Cutting Himself


This young lady is Adrionna Harris, a sixth-grader at Bayside Middle school in Virginia Beach, Virginia. And she is a pretty decent kid who did a pretty cool thing: last week, when she saw a classmate cutting himself with a snap-off blade segment from a utility knife, she took the blade away from the boy, threw it away, and reported the incident to school administrators the next day. And then she got a gift certificate for a pizza party and a commendation for excellent citizenship, right? Precisely, just as long as you replace "gift certificate for a pizza party" with "10-day suspension" and "commendation for excellent citizenship" with "recommendation for expulsion for violating the school's zero-tolerance of weapons policy." We would make a joke about how you can totally tell that she's a blade-wielding thug just by looking at that rebellious dyed hair, but no, she is obviously a sweetheart who was raised right, with just the small oversight on her parents' part that they didn't get around to explaining just how idiotic institutions can be. And now she's learned that.

Adrionna's mom, Rachael Harris, said that she was "shocked that a student would get suspended for saving another child," and added that she believed her daughter did the right thing:

“Under the circumstances, she thought he would bleed out, as he was cutting himself, and there was no teacher in sight. It was a 911 situation, and there wasn’t time to find a teacher.”

Adrionna emphasized to the school and to WAVY-TV News that she had thrown the blade away immediately after taking it away from the boy, and that she didn't keep it with her in the school. And of course, the forehead-pounding idiocy of it all is that she was only punished after reporting the incident in an attempt to get help for her classmate. And then once Adrionna was suspended, the school didn't return the family's calls.

After the teevee news "On Your Side" staff began digging into the story, the school did at least allow Adrionna to return to school, and her suspension/expulsion hearing was moved up to today, instead of having to wait 10 days. Needless to say, reporter Andy Fox makes himself the crusading hero who solved the problem. Good for him, but it doesn't make these awful "On Your Side" local news segments any less annoying.

And despite the fairly obvious stupidity of punishing a kid for touching a razor blade while removing it from another student who was actively hurting himself, the comments on the WAVY story do include some steadfast law-n-order types who note that rules are rules, and Adrionna shouldn't have waited until the next day to report the incident. We didn't read far enough to see whether anyone blamed Obama or concluded that since only Adrionna's mother was interviewed, this is just what happened when there's no man in a child's life. And we're also willing to bet that some of the same folks complaining that zero tolerance policies in schools are an example of liberal big government run amok are also strong supporters of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, for the sake of Getting Tough on Crime.

In any case, Yr Wonkette congratulates Adrionna for doing the right thing -- and for saying that even if she knew she'd be punished, she'd still do it. There's a kid with a good heart, and let's hope that once this gets to a hearing, the decision will be "were the administrators out of their minds?"

[WAVY-10 via Gawker]

Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He has very little tolerance for zero tolerance.

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Photo by Daniel Stockman, Creative Commons license 2.0

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