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Education Law

Spitball-Equivalent Incident Gets Boy, 14, Expelled From High School and Criminally Charged

Posted Feb 1, 2011 8:42 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Bored, a 14-year-old Virginia high school student admittedly did a dumb thing in the cafeteria during lunch period.

He blew small plastic pellets at fellow students through a plastic pen tube, striking three. "They flinched. They looked annoyed," Andrew Mikel II told the Washington Post.

Now the Spotsylvania High School freshman is paying a steep price for the prank: He has been expelled for the remainder of the year and, he says, charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault.

A Virginia civil liberties organization known as the Rutherford Institute is appealing the disciplinary action in state circuit court.

"What happened to Andrew Mikel is an example of how oppressive zero-tolerance policies have become," institute president John Whitehead said. "School officials have developed a very dangerous mindset that allows virtually no freedom for students, while at the same time criminalizing childish behavior."

School board members who upheld the expulsion didn't return the Post's phone calls.

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