It happens with great frequency. Kids are bullied in school until the point their torment becomes too much to handle. That’s when some feel they have to protect themselves and begin secretly bringing a weapon to school. Hidden in book bags or pockets, they know that it’s a serious violation of school policy to possess a knife or any dangerous instrument in school. But by that point, a significant percentage of students who’ve been subject to ongoing and serious threats of school bullying don’t think — they react.
The most recent case to make the news comes out of Ohio and is a perfect example of this growing phenomenon. I regularly serve as attorney to students and families in quite similar cases here in Montgomery County schools and in schools around Maryland. Age seems to make no difference.
Students who are victims of bullying can easily find themselves facing expulsion for bringing weapons to school in their misguided efforts to defend against bullying. From very young kids in elementary school through kids in every grade on through high school, there has been a marked increase in victim/weapon expulsions across the U.S.
Our law firm has represented kids as young 7 in these disturbing cases. Of course it’s wrong to bring a dangerous object to school — the most serious student offense of all — but these are kids who were caught carrying a weapon on school grounds as a result of their dire desperation to protect themselves against bullying.
Instead of focusing the microscope on specific incidents of weapon-totting students, schools should focus on what they need to do to protect their students from bullying, so students will not feel the need to protect themselves in school.