Girl saves boy, faces expulsion

Sixth-grader Adrionna Harris saw a boy cutting his arm with a razorblade at her Virginia Beach middle school. She persuaded him to give her the blade and threw it away. The next day, she told a school administrator what had happened. She was suspended for 10 days with a recommendation for expulsion. She’d handled the razorblade.

After her mother complained to the local TV station, the administration moved up the disciplinary hearing and cleared the girls record. She missed four days of school.

“She thought he would bleed out, as he was cutting himself, and there was no teacher in sight,” said Rachael Harris, the girl’s mother. 

Adrionna said she’d do it again. “Even if I got in trouble, it didn’t matter because I was helping him.”

“The way school officials responded led to a question of if the school’s zero tolerance policy went too far,” reports WAVY-TV.

Ya think?

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  1. tim-10-ber says:

    Sometimes I truly wonder if any sane people work in and/or train educators at all levels…some days I truly don’t think so…

    The student who took the blade, threw it away and then reported it to the principal should be praised. Lesson learn? Do the right thing but do not tell an educator. UGH!

  2. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

    Or put another way, school administrators are idiots.

    • palisadesk says:

      Well, considering that their GRE Verbal scores (correlated with IQ) are right up there with day care workers, you can be sure they aren’t the intellectual creme de la creme. Their teacher employees outscore them by a significant margin.

    • Keep Adrionna.

      Expel the administrators!

  3. SC Math Teacher says:

    Tyranny of good intentions.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Something’s wrong with me. I continue to think there’s a limit to how stupid these people are.

    • Possible explanations include: optimist, slow learner, in denial, belief that these people are 6-sigma outliers.

      I’m glad to see that the kid learned the right lesson – she’d do it again. That gives me hope.

      What strikes me as odd is that in most occupations I can think of; exercise of discretionary judgement is concommittant with higher compensation. These folks seem to be well paid for NOT exercising judgement.

      • You’re right. Being in step with management is very, very important. It signifies reliability and trustworthiness. When a teacher or an administrator looks at each situation, the arrows in the back increase. Eventually, people exercising discretionary judgement disappear.

  5. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    I’m almost coming around to the idea that this really isn’t by accident, that there’s an intentional program of raising students to be used to an arbitrary, intrusive, capricious bureaucracy.


  6. So far it’s three votes for “stupid”, one nearly-but-I’m-not-quite-sure vote for “conspiracy” and one vote for, and this has me scratching my head, “Tyranny of good intentions”.

    Leaving aside the two outliers, how’s that work?

    Are prospective administrators administered an intelligence test which they must fail in order to be accepted to a school of education, administrator division? Do people of otherwise normal intelligence undergo a horrifying transformation once they’re hired as an administrator losing intelligence until a breakfast pastry gnawed into the shape of a gun becomes, in their dimmed minds, a legitimate threat to public safety?

    There just seem to be some unasked questions in dire need of answers before the favored explanation is accepted as explanatory.

    • SC Math Teacher says:

      Tyranny of good intentions means that those who came up with these rules may well have had the best of intentions (I.e., preventing students from carrying knives/blades to school), but in practice, their actions are tyrannical, and we the people pay the price.

      It’s also the title of an excellent book I read some years back. Check it out.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      These ridiculous results are, ironically, a consequence of the fact that administrators are under a lot of pressure from people outside school. If they exercise judgment and things go wrong, or if one kid is treated differently than another, they open themselves to criticism and, potentially lawsuits.

      So they develop detailed rules and procedures. They can then say, “I didn’t do anything wrong. This is what the rules require me to do.”

      • Crimson Wife says:

        Bingo. Zero tolerance policies are a way to CYA on the part of administrators.

      • Administrators are under a lot of pressure but not from anyone outside the schools. How would those people outside school effect that pressure? What could they do other then to yell a lot?

        The public’s only direct control over a school district’s at election time. After that, other then yelling a lot and hoping that has some impact on the board, there’s no means of imposing pressure.

        These ridiculous results arise from the fact that administrators, like teachers, can only be notable for screwing up. An exemplary administrator doesn’t develop novel and effective organizational techniques that result in well-run schools. An exemplary administrator is an administrator who doesn’t screw up. Zero tolerance policies make that goal seemingly easier to attain by reducing, hopefully eliminating, the need for judgment.

        • It’s true that as a whole the public is really only able to directly intervene in school matters during election time… but individually, members of the public can make an administrator’s life hell easy if they know the right strings to pull.
          The threat of a lawsuit is what keeps administrators up at night. Rigid policies that have been endlessly reviewed by lawyers protect the district. If a policy is widespread and common, the district can mitigate damage since they were just following “best practices,” and forcing administrators and staff to adhere faithfully to them prevents well-intentioned mistakes.
          Ultimately, these zero-tolerance policies are a combination of overlitigation (is that a word?) and a choice to trust these policies over the judgement of staff.

          • While *a* parent may file a lawsuit the daily reality of administrative personnel is that they not create, or fail to deflect, any inconvenience for their superiors. As I’ve noted before, a principal doesn’t get any professional recognition for running an educationally-effective school but draw any unfavorable attention that puts the superintendent, or worse the board, on the hot seat and they’ll get some professional recognition of the least favorable sort and pretty damned quick.

            That’s the underlying problem, that an administrator can’t be good at their job, they can only avoid being bad at their job. A situation like that’ll cause those who pursue excellence to go where it’s rewarded leaving only those who aspire to nothing more demanding then a graceful glide to retirement.

            You won’t find many decision-makers in that crowd. Decisions imply responsibility. Decisions have consequences. Who needs that? Just have policies that provide an organizationally-sanctioned response to every possible contingency and stick rigidly to those policies.

  7. OK, so I’ve got my explanation for “Tyranny of good intentions”, although the phrase is less clear then the classic “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” which offsets the value of its greater brevity.

    But there seems to be no interest in submitting the offered explanations to an intellectual hammer and anvil. Considering the habitues of this blog, an interesting indifference.

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    Okay. So what happens when these clowns get behind Arne Duncan’s no-disparity-in-discipline push?
    Wouldn’t be an Asian kid in public school at this point for a pension.

  9. Agree that the admins were at fault here, and sound as if they were brain dead as well. But have to point out: we hear about the cases when admins screw up; we don’t hear about the (many) cases where they find a way to be reasonable even in the face of zero tolerance.