Student brought knife to AES

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 20, 2009

An Andalusia Elementary School fourth grader who showed a knife at the school and threatened another student Monday has been suspended from the school and administrators are considering further action.

Dr. Beverly McAnulty, superintendent for Andalusia City Schools, said the school system is taking the incident seriously.

“This incident occurred Monday afternoon at dismissal,” she said. “The child was suspended before the day was over. The child’s guardian was immediately notified and cooperative.”

McAnulty confirmed that the student showed a knife and threatened to harm another student. The student immediately turned the knife over to school officials.

“A principal can suspend a student for up to five days and then it’s up to me to decide if the suspension will last longer,” McAnulty said. “Right now, I am calling for an extended suspension, probably through the end of the month, which will allow me to collect more information before making a final decision (about consequences).”

McAnulty said an administrative hearing was held Thursday morning, with Taylor, the student and student’s guardian attending. McAnulty plans to quickly make a decision about consequences, and notify the student’s guardian of that decision.

McAnulty said the threat and possession of a weapon is considered a “Class III” offense, according to the AES student handbook, and there are several possible consequences.

“We don’t have an alternative school, so that’s not an option,” she said. “We have an option to expel, and if I recommend expulsion then it would have to go before the board of education.

“Any of the other options I can institute on my own. I can decide to extend the suspension for an amount of time that I determine — usually until the end of the year, especially in high school cases. Or I can have the child return to school but finish the year in in-school suspension.”

McAnulty added that it is important for parents to know that the school takes all incidents of this caliber very seriously and will always take swift action to protect its students.

“Our elementary school is safe and we want to ensure that safety for all of our children,” she said. “We take anything that frightens a child very seriously, and act immediately.”