Violence in our schools has always been a problem, now more than ever before. Each year many students are injured and some are even killed during so-called “school-yard brawls.” In fact, more than 1,000 students are seriously injured per year during school violence in California alone. (http://www.geocities.com/area51/stats/7403.html) In most cases of serious injury, weapons were involved, including common school supplies such as pencils and pens. Historically, the school systems response to possession of weapons on campus has been at the very least confiscation of said weapons and suspension of the possessor, more commonly expulsion of the possessor and occasionally the bringing of criminal charges to bear. The use of weapons to do violence has had much the same results. In some schools, the students pass through a metal detector and/or are searched for weapons upon a regular basis. (Ch. 4 news at 6:00), However, when the weapons being used are common school supplies, what can one do? The number of students injured by their classmates with common school supplies such as pencils and pens are on the rise. A student carrying a gun or a knife is often busted before having an opportunity to use said weapon, one with a pencil on the other hand, they run free until they seriously injure or even possibly kill someone with the pencil. Our current policy is to deal with the student after they commit the crime, as far as stabbing with pencils go anyway, treating them as though they had used any other weapon. It is my belief that something can be done to prevent, or at least minimize the number of incidents involving the use of pencils as “stealth” weapons in our classrooms. Although we do not need to worry about lead poisoning from pencils, (pencil lead is really graphite), (From graphite to pencil, Ali Mitgutsch, 1985) when misused a pencil is a deadly weapon, one far worse than a pocketknife.
One obvious alternative, which would thrill many...
Bibliography: “Computing Edge”: Hi Tech Classes?, John Beechman, Issue 11, 1997
From graphite to pencil: Ali Mitgutsch, Carolrhoda books, 1985
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