Zero tolerance warranted for school violence

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 2, 2002

To facilitate learning, students need to feel they are safe in our public schools. By and large, that appears to be the case, but obviously it is not always so.

Such was the case last week when two Lakeland High School students assaulted a 14-year-old fellow student, who ended up in Obici Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

The school system needs to act swiftly to severely punish the perpetrators to help prevent such incidents in the future. Both students should be immediately expelled. Any lesser punishment sends the message that &uot;boys will be boys&uot; and that should be avoided at all costs in an age in which children appear to be increasingly apt to resort to violence to settle disputes.

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Further, it is hoped that criminal charges are pursued against the pair. Anyone capable of administering such a beating is a threat to society and should likely be removed from it.

Bullying and the threat of physical violence are real threats in our schools. And while school officials generally do a good job in keeping children safe, they can’t be everywhere all the time. The bad apples are going to do their thing and there’s little anyone can do to stop it. However, the threat and reality of severe punishment can be omnipresent and should be reinforced at every opportunity. This is one such opportunity.