The question in the mind of nearly every parent who has children in school, is, “Will my child be subject to violence or bullying at school?” Knox County Schools had been in session less than a month when the first injury due to assault was reported. It wasn’t a student, but a teacher who was injured.
A Powell High School teacher is back to work and deputies took into custody one of three students involved in an assault on the teacher at the school, Sept. 10.
Knox County Schools public affairs specialist, Jennifer Faddis told the Knoxville Journal, “The teacher suffered minor injuries Monday in the incident involving three students. One student was taken into custody by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.”
The teacher, Ken Davis, who is a 16-year veteran English teacher, was treated for minor injuries and returned to work the following day. The Knox County Sheriff’s Officers took the student, a 15-year-old sophomore, into custody.
Mrs. Faddis said, “The Powell High School administration will complete an investigation and take appropriate disciplinary action with respect to the students involved.”
According to the Knox County Schools and Powell High School policies, “battery on a teacher, a School Resource Officer (SRO), an officer of the law assigned to patrol a Knox County School property or other employee of the school system” falls under the Zero Tolerance acts. As such, the penalties would be determined and meted out by Director of Schools, James McIntyre. The policy reads, “ The Director of Schools shall consider each zero tolerance case for placement in the alternative school program.”
The school system has not released details concerning the incident, as of Wednesday.
The Knoxville Journal plans a series of articles on violence and bullying in the schools. Students, parents, and school officials will participate in interviews regarding the extent of bullying and violence as well as the effects and consequences.
The policy manual for Powell High School reads, “The staff is authorized to take reasonable measures to establish appropriate school behavior. Any professional employee, certified and non-certified, shall have the authority to control the conduct of any student while under the supervision of the school system. This authority shall extend to all activities of the school, including all games and public performances of athletic teams and other school groups, trips, excursions and all other activities under school sponsorship and direction.
Such measures may include the use of reasonable force to restrain or correct students and maintain order.
A student shall not use violence, force, noise, coercion, threat, intimidation, fear, passive resistance or any other conduct which causes the disruption, interference or obstruction of any school purpose while on school property, in school vehicles or buses, or at any school-sponsored activity, function or event, whether on or off campus. Neither shall he urge other students to engage in such conduct.
In order to ensure a safe and secure learning environment free of drugs, violence and dangerous weapons, any student who engages in the following behaviors shall be removed from the base school for a period of not less than one (1) calendar year. The Director of Schools has the authority to modify this suspension requirement on a case-by-case basis.”
The manual goes on to describe zero tolerance acts.
Zero tolerance acts are as follows: Any student who while on a school bus, on school property or while attending any school event or activity:
(a) unlawfully possesses a legend drug or any other controlled substance1; or
(b) knowingly possesses a firearm as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 9212; or
(c) commits a battery on a teacher, a School Resource Officer (SRO), an officer of the law assigned to patrol a Knox County School property or other employee of the school system.
“It is the Board’s intent that the Director of Schools exercise his power to modify to ensure that no student shall be out of school for more than two semesters for a zero tolerance offense.
“The Director of Schools shall consider each zero tolerance case for placement in the alternative school program,” the policy manual states.
By Wes Hall