Safety in schools has to be priority

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2008

Anytime a student is harmed while in a classroom, it should not only concern those affected but should raise red flags to educators and the public alike.

On Tuesday, a 19-year-old Ironton student was taken to King’s Daughters Medical Center with two wounds in her leg after a 16-year-old student stabbed her with an X-Acto knife during art class, authorities said.

An X-Acto knife is a utility knife that has a sharp blade attached to a pen-like body. The 19-year-old was treated for her injuries and released.

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“They were in a classroom and a verbal argument erupted,” said Capt. Chris Bowman, a detective with the Ironton Police Department.

The 16-year-old was taken to the Dennis J. Boll Group and Shelter Home and faces a felonious assault charge.

Ironton City Schools Superintendent Dean Nance said the incident is being reviewed and such behavior will not be tolerated.

“We take all incidents like these seriously,” Nance said. “This is something we are definitely not going to stand for.”

That is the correct approach. What is also the correct approach is to review safety measures that are in place and evaluate if they are effective.

Equally important, however, is that there not be an overreaction. Any high school is equipped with various tools that can be made into weapons, but this is an isolated case.

Conflicts in schools are between students are routine and they seldom get to the level of seriousness that was shown Tuesday.

Still, the incident should give everyone pause because the victim’s injuries could have been more severe.

And the most important thing for the leaders of the district — or any district for that matter — to recognize is that the safety of the children who walk through their doors has to be their top priority.