Tags: virginia | student | spitball | assault

Lawyer Appeals Va. Student’s Spitball Case to Supreme Court

Thursday, 31 May 2012 02:13 PM

By Todd Beamon

The lawyer of a Virginia high school student suspended for shooting plastic spitballs at other students has appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to Fox News.

“This is the most ridiculous case,” John Whitehead, who is representing Andrew Mikel, said on Thursday. “This is what’s wrong with our society."

In 2010, Mikel was a 14-year-old freshman at Spotsylvania high school when he was suspended for “violent criminal conduct” with a “weapon” during lunch. The honor student had used a pen hollowed out like a straw to fire the spitballs. No one was hurt, Whitehead said, and Mikel had hit the backpacks of other students.

Spotsylvania school officials suspended Mikel for the remainder of the school year and sent the case to law enforcement, which charged him with assault and placed him in a diversion program that required him to take anger-management classes.
“I made a stupid decision,” Mikel, a small, shy and assuming teenager, told Fox News. “I shouldn’t have shot those spitballs.”

Whitehead has appealed Mikel’s case to the Supreme Court after making no headway in Virginia state courts. The proliferation of “zero tolerance” polices at the nation’s schools are to blame for such circumstances, he said.

“Andrew Mikel is merely the latest in a long line of victims whose educations have been senselessly derailed by school administrators lacking in both common sense and compassion,” Whitehead said. “We have moved into a new paradigm in America where young people are increasingly viewed as suspects and treated as criminals by school officials.”

“I'm afraid of what we are doing in our public schools today,” he added. “We are cracking down so hard on students that we are making them very compliant."

He says that kind of “compliance” will eventually lead to a loss of liberty for everyone.

“We are raising up a generation of people who are going to be afraid to step out of line,” said Whitehead, president of the The Rutherford Institute, which provides legal services in the defense of religious liberties. “If you don't teach a child in school that they have a right to be treated fairly as human beings when they go out in the normal life, they are going to roll over when their rights are violated.”

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