Weapons punishments in Pennsylvania schools

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Some parents say children are getting in trouble at schools because educators are hypersensitive in the wake of the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in December. One of the most well-publicized cases was that of a 5-year-old in the Mount Carmel Area School District in Eastern Pennsylvania, who told friends that she was going to shoot them with a Hello Kitty toy that makes soap bubbles.

She's one of several Pennsylvania elementary-age children who are punished over weapons violations. How many of the kids actually posed a threat?

One clue may be found in Pennsylvania's definition of a weapon. It includes guns and knives, but also encompasses ordinary objects, such as scissors and bottles, that can potentially be used to harm others. A look at weapons-violations punishments in Pennsylvania schools over the past four years:

• Out-of-school suspensions in kindergarten through sixth grade: 3,674

• Expulsions in kindergarten through sixth grade: 429

• Kindergartners suspended: 97

• First-graders suspended: 308

education - nation - state

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education


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