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One student suspended after fight in Waynesboro Area Middle School

October 17, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - The classrooms and halls of Waynesboro Area Middle School will be temporarily void of the two students involved in last Friday's fight that ended with one teenager being taken to the hospital with a stab wound.

A boy punched another student and was stabbed in the shoulder in return shortly before 2 p.m., school and law enforcement authorities have said.

The boy who did the punching has been suspended for three days, according to Larry Glenn, president of the Waynesboro Area School Board.

The alleged stabber remained in juvenile custody, and his school status will be decided upon his release, Glenn said Tuesday.

State law - reiterated in the district's weapons policy - calls for a student to be expelled for a minimum of a year if that student is determined to have brought a weapon onto school property. However, the weapons policy states that "the superintendent may recommend discipline short of expulsion on a case-by-case basis."

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"We (the school board) don't know the names because we have a judicial obligation to privacy," Glenn said.

Glenn confirmed the weapon used was a knife, but said he did not know the length of the blade.

"I can't guarantee (a weapon) is not going to come in" to school, Superintendent Barry Dallara said.

He released a press release early Tuesday about the district's anti-bullying, anger management and counseling programs. In it, he offered to meet with district parents to discuss issues related to safety or security.

Dallara said he has talked to 10 middle school parents in the wake of the fight.

Problems of this nature tend to manifest themselves in the middle school of seventh- and eight-graders, Dallara said after the school board emerged from a closed-door session with WAMS administrators.

"It's a developmental age. ... Kids don't understand the consequences of their actions," Dallara said.

They better grasp the long-term ramifications at the high school level, he said.

When asked if a racial slur was involved in Friday's incident, Glenn said parents of both students have said the slur was not involved.

"One of the kids said that happened, but we can't verify it," he said.

Minorities account for 6 percent of the Waynesboro Area School District's student population of almost 4,300, Dallara said.

When asked if racial tensions exist at the middle school, Glenn said, "I don't think so."

If anything, they are isolated instances, he said.

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