Texas middle school faces dilemma


Tilman Middle School is facing a dilemma this week. An eighth-grade student is accused of writing an 11-part story that details attacks on specific students, using knives, scissors, sexual assaults, and even a 7-Eleven Slurpee machine. The eighth grade student was reportedly removed from school weeks ago by his parents, but the student returned to school after spring break. His return  prompted protests by parents and students. The district released a statement stating that, “he was evaluated for two weeks and then released. However, the district can’t do much because the book wasn’t written on or using school property”. Bernard James, a professor of law and education-law expert at Pepperdine University explains in the article the gray area that exists when it comes to juveniles, criminal law and to what degree schools can act upon a threat. Professor James gives two examples of two separate school responding to threats and in both cases the school district was held responsible.

This article sparked by interest because I think it’s difficult to decide what to do in this situation, As a mother I completely understand why the parents are protesting; they want to know that their children are going to be safe at school. There has been numerous cases of school violence and unfortunately once a tragedy occurs it is too late, people want to find out why and wish they could have prevented it but it’s too late. Here we have a situation where this book was found before a tragedy occurred but what should happen to this student? This student obviously needs help, the students who he accuses of bullying him should also get help and see what led up to the creation of this book. I wonder, if this student stays at this school will the parents take their children out of school and transfer them to a different school? If this student gets the proper treatment or therapy and is monitored shouldn’t he be allowed to stay at the school? Or will he be harassed for his action even though he is getting help? Should the parents of this student remove him from the school? So many questions and I don’t have the answers.


3 responses to “Texas middle school faces dilemma

  1. This is a hard decision to make. I think of how Dr. Stewart mentioned in class, what would you do if out into the situation if it occurred here. If I were a parent I would want my child safe and would probably want this kid removed from the school. However, if I were an administrator such as the principal I would want to give support to the child and would want to use every resource to ensure safety of all students. Monitoring the child would be my first priority along with helping him, but if I felt he would still endanger students safety then would look to remove him to another school. I would have to follow procedures of the school especially since the material was not found on school grounds and could be a law violation such as the first amendment. You do bring a good point because if he was allowed to stay at the school and was harassed, I believe this would escalate further and an even greater problem would exist.


  2. This also reminds me of our class discussion where Dr. Reg pointed out that the (sexual assault) protocol was inefficient and ultimately didn’t provide a safe solution for the students. I think that the school system still has a ways to go to answer these questions, and create a protocol that protects both the writer and his “victims”.


  3. most definitely a topic in the gray area…the philosophy of a threat. Legally a threat is not actionable unless it gives a specific place or time manner which this seems to fall under? but the idea of a threat that could be construed in so many ways intended to invoke fear in the receiver…by the rules of my neighborhood, very different from other places i’ve lived a threat was the same as the act, so that if you threatened someone they had the right to respond with full force. The threat is more important to address here because it involves youth who are not as prepared to protect themselves.


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