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  1. #1
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    6th Grader Suspended For Four Months For Grafitti

    Man this seems harsh...there were things wrote all over the place when I went to school and they said thing much much worse than "I love so and so."

    KATY, Texas — Writing "I love Alex" on a school gymnasium wall brought a 12-year-old the same punishment as if she had made terrorist threats.
    The Katy Independent School District rated the message, written with a baby blue marker by sixth-grader Shelby Sendelbach, as a Level 4 infraction — the same as for threats, drug possession and assault.
    Only murder, gun possession, sexual assault and arson are considered more severe by the suburban Houston district.
    For her punishment, Shelby was assigned to an alternative school from Aug. 27 through Dec. 21.
    School district spokesman Steve Stanford said the district was just following a state law, saying it requires assignment to an alternative school for graffiti.
    Her parents have appealed and a hearing is set for this month. Lisa and Stu Sendelbach said they don't condone what Shelby did but think the punishment is overly harsh.
    "We are shocked that the school district rules as they are written make no distinction between what Shelby is accused of and what a gang member does with a can of black spray paint," Stu Sendelbach said.
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,288536,00.html

  2. #2
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    hmmm. graffiti is really defacing someone elses property so I take this behavior very seriously. this child was definitely old enough to know this was wrong and causes damage. I am generally in favor of this type of punishment, but I am not going to knee jerk. I am going to think on it.
    Thanks for posting.

    ETA: I do think what she did is the same as tagging and so no distinction should be made between that and spray paint. Assuming that it was an indelible marker that had to be painted over like spray paint?

  3. #3
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    Sounds like they are making an example here. Repairing graffiti from walls, desks, books, etc. costs the school districts thousands every year that need to be spent on educating kids who are there to learn not destroy.

  4. #4
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    Wouldn't a sufficient punishment be making her pay for the damage and perhaps clean it up herself?

    This is a bit over the top.

    I also think the dad of this girl is an idiot for thinking that only people in gangs tag.

  5. #5
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    It's way over the top for punishment. The school district in question is a good one but has a reputation for going overboard on the "zero tolerance' issues. The girl wrote two lines in the gym next to the bleachers covered in graffiti--she didn't destroy school property, which was the intent originally in the school district handbook of making "defacing property" a level 4 offense. This is the same punishment given to kids who have drugs on campus.

    A week of in school suspension and a month of community service would have been a much more appropriate consequence.

    Four months in alternative school? I've taught those kids. You don't put a kid with them for writing "I love Alex" on a wall.

  6. #6
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    I say punish her with something like in-school supsension, and make her responsible for the cost of cleaning and painting over the area she wrote on.

    In a whole: kicking her out of school for 4 months is a tad extreme, in my opinion. That is one sure fire way to set a child on the path of discouragement when it comes to school. What she did was definitely wrong... but wrong enough for school officials to compromise her education? I don't think so...

  7. #7
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    I wonder how they knew the girl did it or if they knew that she was going steady with Alex. The girl shouldn't have confessed and should have gotten her parents there immediately and called a defense attorney I guess. I've seen murderers get off scott free and this girl is sent up the river with the more criminal minded kids, maybe even the ones who wrote the other graffitti. Looks like she even has to attend school all summer? That's awful if it's part of her punishment and not due to already failing a class and having to go. She'll learn at the alternative school how to be more sneaky and admit to nothing and how to never trust school officials again the rest of her life.

  8. #8
    tennessee is offline Blew out my flipflop. Stepped on a pop top . . .
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    Let her clean it up and maybe have in school suspension for a couple of days. Especially if this is her first offense.

    If this school is anything like the ones around here, zero tolerance isn't administered equally. Yes, graffiti is bad but there are so many other things that are worse.
    Opinions are like belly buttons. Everyone's got one. This one is mine.

  9. #9
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    Did yall see the picture? It is a tiny little thing...about half the size of a dollar with a little heart drawn around the line. This punishment is WAY freaking over the top! Her parents wanted her to do some community punishment as well as reasonable in school suspension. To me, sounds like the parents are trying to teach their daughter properly.

  10. #10
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    Going to alternative school is a bit over the top. You throw a good kid who made a stupid mistake in alternative school for six months, and who knows what will happen. The alternative school in our area is where the worst of the worst go: drug dealers, gang members, etc. Is a girl who wrote "I love Alex" and surrounded it with a heart going to be served well in such an environment?


  11. #11
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    This school needs to show some leniency. Any updates?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin View Post
    This school needs to show some leniency. Any updates?
    The parents will have to go through the usual procedures of taking it to the area superintendent, then the superintendent, then the school board for appeals. The alternative school placement is for the fall so there probably won't be any updates until then.

    A similar case involving a girl who brought a little open blade pencil sharpener to school and got the alternative school placement (she was an honors student) in the same district is currently headed for litigation/trial. The parents claim the girl was denied due process.

  13. #13
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    I don't know that I would want my child in a school district where she wasn't seen as an individual, but rather as a potential threat.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. E View Post
    I don't know that I would want my child in a school district where she wasn't seen as an individual, but rather as a potential threat.
    Then you must homeschool.

  15. #15
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    In my Chorus room in middle school, someone wrote "Barbara Newcomer loves Ross Leonard" in letters just shy of a foot high each across the back of the room. I had a crush on Ross, yes, but wouldn't have written that in a million years.

    It didn't matter that I was innocent, I had to scrub it off the walls.

    I carried a resentment over that punishment that I felt was unfair for a long time. (Wasn't the humiliation enough?)

    I can't imagine how I'd have turned out if I had been treated as a real criminal, rather than just as I was.
    FUN... is a renewable resource!

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