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Students Accused of Bringing Knives to School

by Katie Pyzyk — December 19, 2012 at 9:45 am 5,113 105 Comments

Arlington County Police Department badgeTwo students have been suspended from Thomas Jefferson Middle School after knives were allegedly found in their possession at school.

Police say last Thursday (December 13), a school administrator noticed two boys outside engaging in what appeared to be suspicious behavior. The administrator thought the boys might be smoking cigarettes. She then checked the boys’ schedules and noticed they were both late to class.

According to police, the administrator found that the boys had returned to the building shortly after the incident, and she pulled one boy out of class to confront him about his behavior outside. A search was performed on the boy’s backpack, in anticipation of finding cigarettes, and a butterfly knife was discovered. Upon searching the second boy’s locker, a similar butterfly knife was also found.

Both boys were charged with Possession of a Weapon in School and released to the custody of their parents. Both have also been suspended.

Nobody at the school was injured. Arlington Public Schools will not comment on the incident to protect the students’ privacy.

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  • WeiQiang

    what do kids learn at home?

    • Nathan

      Right. I’m in favor of in school suspension. They have to do all their classes alone in the library.

  • Douglas Parker

    Those dogs don’t hunt.

  • DeportEmAll

    This is in South Arlington, right?

    • MC 703

      Sweet username

    • Arlingtoon

      Thomas Jefferson is located on Second Street, South, just off of Glebe Road. When we lived in Ashton Heights the school drew its students from both north and south Arlington. Based on our experience there it’s a wonderful school with an outstanding faculty — as is the case with all of the Arlington schools.

    • watch them like a hawk

      Doesn’t matter. I know of at least one North Arlington school that had a similar thing happen. Not sure what the reason was at TJ but it turns out anybody can buy pseudo-switch-blade knives on Amazon. A North Arlington latch key kid figured out he could buy pre-paid credit cards at the drug store, place an order on Amazon, receive his package while his parents were at work, then resell the knives to other kids for a profit. It was apparently quite the cash cow until he got too cocky and made at least one transaction at school, where another student reported him to the administration.

  • ??

    How about praising an attentive administrator? Seems they were on top of it! Appreciate the work that all administrators do to keep our kids safe.

    • HJ

      Why would the admin go inside to check the class schedule instead of just approaching the students while they were still outside?

      • KalashniKEV

        Perhaps he needs an articuable suspicion to stop and search, just like a LEO.

      • ??

        Probably made a professional judgment that talking to a child one on one is better than when there is an audience of other students thereby escalating a situation instead of diffusing it.

        • Grammer

          While you could probably contort the intent of your usage of “diffusing” to be appropriate, I think “defusing” is what you were going for.

          • Captain_Obvious

            I think you could have ended your sentence in something else besides a preposition.

          • WeiQiang

            … or spelled ‘grammar’ correctly.

          • Strunk and White

            Unless of course referring to Kelsey…………

  • janedough

    these knives dont come from kitchen drawers; they are even illegal in canada, uk and other countries

    • KalashniKEV

      LOL… isn’t *everything* illegal in the UK and Canada?

      • uk chappie

        Just things that have no purpose other than to kill or injure other people kev. We’re fine with everything else. As opposed to the US who ban things like Fireworks and Kinder eggs.

        • novasteve

          How does calling someone a “pleb” in the UK kill or injure something, yet it’s banned. An official with the Met got arrested for allegedly saying “pleb”.

          • uk Chappie

            you got that story totally bollocksed up didn’t you steven? You are presumably talking about the inceident where a politician was forced to resign after the police suggested he had called police officers “f####ing plebs”. There is now an inquiry that suggests that the police pabricated this…..which is the offence in question. But don’t let the facts spoil your little story old man!

        • blimey

          So last night they banned soccer? Because there was a bloke on here yesterday saying that soccer injuries were the most horrendous in all sport. Surely the chaps in the UK wouldn’t condone such a sport, would they?

          • uk chappie

            very funny old chap. We prefer to call it football. And we prefer to call people who don’t undertand that wankers.

    • B-fly

      “What would Brian Boitano do?”

  • fedworker

    1. The boys had cigarettes but did not inhale. Innocent.
    2. The boys wouldn’t be late to class if Zimmerman’s trolleys were up and running. Innocent,.
    3. Ooooh. Butterfly knives. Pretty.

    • ob

      I know these two boys I go to that school they would never hurt any one they are just immature

    • Jennifer

      i go to the school and the boys did inhale they do everyday but just dont get caught.

  • South Awwlington

    These kids should be expelled, not suspended.

    • Josh S

      Are you kidding? For what? They should be taught to be responsible and capable users of the knives, instead of just playing with them and feeling shame for no reason. Teach them how to carve, how to whittle, anything. But don’t marginalize them, don’t ostracize them, don’t shame them.

      • South Awwlington

        Are you kidding me? I hope you are being sarcastic but just in case you are not – Kids bring weapons to school and you want to coddle them? You really have lost your mind. Do you work in education, have family that taught, etc? There is NO NEED for students to being weapons of ANY type into a learning environment.

        • Deeman804

          Do you work in education? If so, since when is the absence of education the solution. He should be strongly disciplined and if this is a one-off incident, he should be taught what was wrong with his action and allowed to return to class.

          • DCBuff

            If the students are expelled from APS, ArlCo will still pay for them to go to another school, as required under VA law. Expulsion may make a school safer by removing threats but uses additional resources.

          • South Awwlington

            Yes, I am a trained as a teacher. No, I do not currently work in education. No one is advocating for the “absence of education” as a solution. The students do need to be made aware of the severity of the offense, especially in light of Sandy Hook. If not here, then where do we draw the line?

            There is no place for weapons in schools; held by students, parents, teachers or administrators. I am not advocating to make a show of these kids to the entire school population but they do need to know what the did was wrong, what will happen next time, evaluation of counseling if needed, etc.

            This is no joke. Gun or not.

        • Josh S

          Not being sarcastic in the least, SA. And yes, I have worked in schools.
          Knives exist for reasons other than as “weapons.” If there is any evidence that either one of these kids was intending to use the knife as a weapon, then that’s a completely different story. But I certainly didn’t see any in this story. And it would be very wrong to jump to the conclusion that there was any such intent.
          I don’t see how what I was suggesting could be described as “coddling.” I’m simply suggesting that the kids be treated respectfully and not as pariahs for possessing a knife. You suggested they should be expelled. To be very honest, I think that this kind of “zero tolerance” approach is exactly the kind of approach that leads to greater alienation, greater resentment, and greater distrust among people.

          • Quoth the Raven

            I don’t agree that expelling them is the answer – I agree that “zero tolerance” is a poor approach. But it’s not like they brought a swiss army knife to a scout meeting before they earned their whittling chit. These were butterfly knives brought to school, so let’s keep some perspective here. They did wrong, and should be punished. Suspension seems about right.

          • Josh S

            Yeah, and I haven’t argued against suspension. It was the suggestion that they be expelled that really galled me. The suspension will likely be embarrassing enough to ensure they never do this again.

          • novasteve

            When I was in middle school, some psychotic kid in my class stabbed me in the back with one of the xacto knives we used in wood shop class.

          • Captain_Obvious

            You sure he didn’t stab your brain at all ?

          • GreaterClarendon

            Back in the 80s, we used to carry our scouting pocket knife in our pockets at school – not a big deal. These kids were simply showing off, and should be taught proper use of the knife, but don’t ruin their lives unless they intended to harm someone.

        • Alex

          Agreed that nobody should bring weapons in to school, but one has to wonder what the motivation was here. Were they intending to be violent or perhaps did they feel unsafe in the school environment? Not only do schools provide education, they also provide a healthy dose of bullying.

  • John Fontain

    I’m glad they aren’t releasing the names of these poor, innocent children. They are the true victims of an unjust society and there is no need to embarrass them by releasing their names.

    • @JF

      What?! Is this a joke?

      • SteamboatWillie

        Probably not, but the poster often is.

      • Josh S

        I suspect it is not a joke but an incomplete thought. If he is going where I think he is going, I actually agree with him. Boys of their age were once given opportunities to grow into men. Not so much in 21st century America.

        • John Fontain

          Of course it was a joke. These aren’t innocent kids, they are thugs in the making. They need some serious discipline, not a hug. Make them clean the toilets in the school as a punishment for what they did. Something that will embarrass them and make them think twice before they make the same stupid move again.

          • Josh S

            Oh right, how could I have missed the user name…..?

    • dk (not DK)

      Come on, John.

  • YTK

    Shouldn’t have suspended them – UNLESS they had mandatory appoitnments with school counselors to talk this through and hopefully prevent further problems with them in the near future — otherwise they are just back on the streets until their suspension time is up.

    • Captain_Obvious

      yes, suspend them…there has to be consequences for making a poor decision.

    • DCBuff

      School policy requires suspension in cases such as this. No option.

  • William S.

    Congratulations to Arlington Public Schools for the professional way this was handled. Too often our teachers, administrators and staff are taken for granted or worse–treated like horrible, selfish grifters.

  • LotteLenya

    Did the administrator also check their shoes?

  • Kath

    Is searching their backpacks allowed?

    • Joe Hoya

      Sure is. Kids at school have very few rights. According to the Supreme Court, about the only thing you can’t do is strip-search them

      • GenPershing

        Courts have said school officials can search police with the loosey-goosey standard of “reasonable suspicion” of wrongdoing (police need probable cause). It seems that they had that in this case, since tobacco possession by minors is illegal in Virginia.

        • GenPershing

          That should read, “can search *students*”

  • CW

    I wonder if this incident was unique enough that it required its own press release, or if this is just ACPD trying to show that they are being proactive in schools in light of last week’s event. In other words – if last week didn’t happen, would this article have been written?

    • Josh S

      Excellent point. No, it would not have since these kinds of shenanigans are not rare.

  • Max

    It’s their god given right to bring murder weapons to school!

    • John Fontain

      LoL. Unfortunately, a lot of bleeding hearts actually believe this is true. Those poor, innocent, knife bearing kids!! Let’s give them a hug and hope that that will make things all better!

    • Josh S

      Murder weapons? So your butcher knife is a murder weapon? You got any coils of rope at home? How about a nice heavy wrench? All murder weapons, according to you.
      Get a grip. And have some perspective.

      • Captain_Obvious

        actually, he’s right. A butterfly knife is definitely a murder weapon. Get a grip and some perspective.

        • Deadite

          A butterfly knife is designed to be a weapon. A butcher knife is designed to be a utensil. Big difference.

          And if these kids had butcher knives instead of butterfly knives I’m sure the punishment would be just as severe.

          • Quoth the Raven

            But we have no clue why they brought them. When I was young, I thought butterfly knives were cool, and you were really cool if you could flip them open without cutting your fingers off. I saw them in school fairly often, and no one brought them for any reason but to show them off. For all we know, they did the same thing. I get they shouldn’t have them, and I think suspension is a good idea. But we have nothing that says they weren’t just kids being kids. Calling them “thugs” or whatever is a bit much.

          • KalashniKEV

            LOL… so would you go so far as to say a Butterfly Knife has “no legitimate sporting purpose?” Let’s BAN THEM! LOL

            Did you knot also play with Butterfly Knives when you were that age?

          • Deadite

            Quoth – I’m not sure if you replied to the wrong comment (like I did on my last one ^^) but I never called them thugs. I agree that they are just adolescent kids testing their boundaries, got caught, and now need to pay the price. Lord knows I got into my fair share of trouble when I was that age, and I was punised whenever caught (and rightfully so).

          • Deadite

            Kalash – when did I ever mention banning butterfly knives (newsflash: they’re already banned)? Why are you and Quoth accusing me of things I didn’t even say?

            I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!!

          • Quoth the Raven

            D-ite – sorry, I was trying to answer a JF comment. He called them “thugs in the making”.

  • novasteve
    • Captain_Obvious

      Why can’t they just have the sheaths instead ?

      By the way, love the separation of church and state here.

      • novasteve

        Separation of church and state? Check out Dearborn, MI where a public university had foot washing basins and the public school system has banned pork from the cafeterias.

        • Captain_Obvious

          well everyone has to be happy and get a trophy.

  • airumair

    before you completely write off these kids as thugs and low-lifes, anyone stop and think that maybe this was just a reaction to the newtown shooting?? maybe they’re just scared..kids..?

    • John Fontain

      Yeah, I’m sure that’s it. They were so scared of a shooter coming to their school that they felt it best to skip class and stand outside the school with their pocket knives to protect themselves and their classmates.

      Get out of here with this knucklehead stuff.

      • airumair

        maybe that’s it, maybe its not, but you seem to know it all. People are too quick to judge, there are other sides to every story, writing others off as criminals or stupid, though it may make you feel better, does not solve anything.

        • John Fontain

          too quick to judge? they brought knives to school! what more is there to know?

          sure there is a 0.00000000000000000000001% chance that they brought knives to school and cut class because they were scared out of their minds about the Newtown shooting. But I think I’ll stick with the 99.99999999999999999999% chance that these kids are trouble makers who didn’t have good intent when they decided to bring knives to school.

          • DCBuff

            Assuming the allegations are indeed true–they brought weapons to school–they have committed a crime, and who commits a crime? Criminals. Harsh, for sure, but they made this choice. And, as others have noted, it was not in “reaction” to anything taking place elsewhere. But John, I think you’ve overdone the odds. Let’s hope that the consequences of their actions will have a positive affect on their future.

          • Josh S

            “What more is there to know?”

            Were you born yesterday? You must have fallen out of the sky? Or, you are a cyborg?

            “What more is there to know?”

            The most narrow-minded, thick-headed, clap-trap I have ever read on these forums.

          • Lee-n-Glebe

            There’s another possibility. When I was a kid I took martial arts and watched Bruce Lee flicks. I had several butterfly knives because they were cool and I wanted to practice flipping them around like in the movies. If I ever took one to school (I can’t remember if I did), it would have been to show to my friends. I never had bad / thuggish intent with respect to any of those knives, and that wouldn’t be different depending on what location I was in at any given time. It was certainly stupid for them to take the knives to school, but I don’t think thuggery can be presumed.

          • John Fontain

            josh s said: “The most narrow-minded, thick-headed, clap-trap I have ever read on these forums.”

            If realizing these kids aren’t choir boys makes me narrow minded, then so be it.

          • Johnson

            Are those decimal places aligned correctly?

      • Josh S

        It is equally as plausible as your knee-jerk reaction that they are thugs who deserve nothing more than to clean toilets.

    • BoredHouseWife

      the brought the knives the day before the shooting in ct and the knife attack in china.

    • Patrick

      “Police say last Thursday (December 13)…”

      This occured the day before the newtown shooting, so no I don’t think anyone stopped to consider that this was a reaction to something that hadn’t even happened.

      But maybe it was a reaction to columbine or any other school violence that has taken place in the past. Anything to not have to hold someone accountable for their own actions. It is the Arlington way.

    • NoVapologist

      If that is true, then they should be suspended for bringing knives to a gun fight.

    • Louise

      airumair, this happened on Thursday. Newtown was on Friday.

  • brendan

    funny thing about butterfly knives, the owner is the one most likely to be injured. they should just require the kids to sit in a room and play with the knives all day for a week, doubtful they’ll want to pick one up again and it’ll be hard without any thumbs.

    weird this is news, tho dangerous, this is a stupid novelty item for curious teenagers. give them iss, but explusion and max oss is counterproductive in this case. better idea would be to find out why these knives are so accessible to teenagers even though they’ve been banned for years.

    • Douglas Parker

      Funny same with guns!

      Firearms were used to kill 30,143 people in the United States in 2005, the most recent year with complete data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[1]

      A total of 17,002 of these were suicides, 12,352 homicides, and 789 accidental firearm deaths. Nearly half of these deaths occurred in people under the age of 35.
      - Gunpolicy.org

      • brendan

        yea, okay.

    • Josh S

      Agree. I’d say the real culprit in this story is the one who sold or gave the knives to these kids. The kids were most likely getting the knives on a lark, or to appear tough, or on a dare, etc. But if they are banned, then their only source is illegal. That’s your real thug.

      • Captain_Obvious

        you know, they could have found them. Its possible one of their parents had it from a long time ago when it wasn’t illegal.

        • Lee-n-Glebe

          I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that if you Google for “butterfly knives” in under 2 minutes you will find someone willing to sell / ship you one.

        • KalashniKEV

          Not everything is illegal.

          “In Virginia, the balisong is legal for conceal and open carrying according to state law, although localities can have additional knife laws and restrictions.”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balisong_%28knife%29#Legal_status

          • Captain_Obvious

            you realize this post and the subsequent comments are about butterfly knives specifically ?

          • John Fontain

            captain – balisong is the real name of what we call “butterfly knives”

          • Captain_Obvious

            actually, I didn’t know that. I’m not in the habit of clicking on wikipedia entries haphazardly. Thanks for that.

      • John Fontain

        josh s said: “The kids were most likely getting the knives on a lark, or to appear tough, or on a dare, etc”

        LoL. Criminals love people like you.

  • ouch

    mumbleypeg club members?

  • BoredHouseWife

    sounds like someone didn’t put their mind control ray gun away

    http://phys.org/news144495604.html

  • Mike Huckabee

    All this is happening cause we took God out the schools.

    • Schoolie

      We had to Mike – he’s a serial smiter

    • Richard Cranium

      Dude – he had to graduate eventually. He was getting pissed off at getting held back every year.

  • Hey What The???

    The county is painfully clear to students and parents of the rules of school. I would feel uncomfortable having these kids with these type of knives outside of school let alone In school.

  • Arlingtonian Chap

    Why didn’t’ this article identify the kids by their names? Which reminds me, how are they allowed to put people out there by name who commit any sort of crime in this county? Isn’t a violation of people’s privacy? I mean I understand they are criminals but that doesn’t strip them of their right.

  • nom de guerre
  • thekids

    Max was a great friend at school but i know to never ever do this stuff.

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