Originally created 04/24/04

4 pupils face weapon charges



ATHENS, Ga. - Four Clarke County pupils have been charged this week with having weapons on school property, including three who were caught with knives and a boy who shot a girl in the face with a pellet gun on a school bus.

The incidents all were reported to the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, and the pupils will face court proceedings and school administrative action, said Frank Platt, the security director for the Clarke County School District.

The incidents - three of which happened Wednesday - weren't related, although the restlessness that often affects pupils and discipline near the end of the school year could be a factor in each, Mr. Platt said.

"They bring it as a sort of show-and-tell to other students, and all of a sudden it was show-and-tell with the principal," he said.

On Wednesday, teachers and administrators found knives on a 17-year-old girl at Clarke Central High School, a 12-year-old boy at Hilsman Middle School and an 11-year-old boy at Chase Street Elementary School. The high school and middle school pupils face automatic assignment to the district's punitive alternative school. Pupils who have been caught with weapons also could be expelled, Mr. Platt said.

A day earlier, in a previously reported incident, a 12-year-old girl was slightly injured and was treated at St. Mary's Hospital in Athens for a facial bruise after an 11-year-old boy pulled a pellet gun out of his pack on a school bus, told her he was going to shoot her, then fired. The boy, who was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon on school property, was taken to a youth detention center.

In most cases, pupils with weapons are caught, not because of a confrontation with the weapon, but because teachers or administrators are warned about the danger, Mr. Platt said.