Monday, June 04, 2012

Proposal: Classify BB Guns as Weapons

(Fall River, Massachusetts)
Despite the protest of a parent group, a School Committee subcommittee will not be making any changes to the district’s policies on student discipline.

The Policy Manual subcommittee met Wednesday night in response to concerns raised by the group Keep Our Kids Safe that the district’s discipline policies were not strong enough.

Concerns were raised after a series of incidents during the course of the school year in which students were found to have brought BB guns to school, including two cases at the Alfred Letourneau Elementary School. Once of the Letourneau situations included the student firing the gun and striking two other students in the hallway.

Group founder Rachel McGarty had sought to increase the minimum suspension from one to five days for students found to be in possession of a weapon. The School Department’s elementary school disciplinary guidelines state that any student found in possession of a weapon is eligible to be suspended from one to nine days or face expulsion. McGarty was also seeking for a policy change that would classify BB guns as weapons.

Subcommittee Chairman Richard Pavao said the reclassification of BB guns was not accepted because state law does not include BB guns as weapons. He said the change to the suspension policy was rejected because the subcommittee felt school principals should have discretion.

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