School policy on weapons and cell phones clarified
by Larry S. Chowning
The Middlesex County School Board voted on August 21 to change elements of the “Student Code of Conduct” concerning cell phones and the definition of weapons.
Last year, a Middlesex Elementary School student brought a firearm into the school, which prompted school administrators to hold a public meeting to inform and calm parents and students.
The new code of conduct states that students shall not have in their possession at school any type of unauthorized firearm or other article that may be used as a weapon. Such weapons include, but are not limited to, pistols, shotguns, stun weapons, revolvers, and any other firearm intended to propel a projectile of any kind. Also prohibited are rifles, unloaded firearms in closed containers, air rifles and BB guns, toy guns, look-alike guns, dirks, bowie knives, switchblade knives, ballistic knives, machetes, knives or razors, slingshots and spring sticks.
Also, “brass or metal knuckles, blackjacks and flailing instruments consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shurikent, or fighting chain and disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades, which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart.”
The conduct manual states, “Any student determined to be in possession of or to have brought any prohibited weapon onto school property or to a school-sponsored activity shall be expelled for a period of not less than one year (365 days).”
However, the manual further states the school board may determine a different disciplinary action if it finds that special circumstances exist in a weapons case.
Under cell phones, upon completion of a Cell Phone Request form, a student may possess a portable communication device on school property during the school day.
However, the device must be out of sight, turned off, and used only with authorization from a school official. Portable communication devices include any beepers, cell phones, i-pods, or other small devices capable of receiving or transmitting electronic communications.
The policy notes that upon any violation of this provision, the device shall be subject to confiscation by school officials and returned only to the student’s parents or guardians.
The school board voted unanimously to approve these changes and additions for the 2008-09 school year.