'Doing the right thing' gets Fox Chapel Area student in trouble
A Fox Chapel Area student is spending up to 10 days suspended from school for what his lawyer calls “doing the right thing.”
The 16-year-old boy was suspended this week for reporting to a security guard at the Foxes' Friday night football game that he had a pocket knife with him.
Attorney Phil Dilucente said Tuesday the student, David Schaffner III, spent last Friday afternoon setting up a site to hunt and forgot he had a knife in his pocket.
“He went to the game without changing,” Dilucente said. “When he got there, he saw a sign about the no-weapons policy on school property. He remembered the knife and he told a security guard about it.”
The guard took the knife to the principal.
“Instead of saying good job to him for being forthright and doing the right thing, they decided to make it into a federal case,” Dilucente said.“He voluntarily turned it in, did the right thing — and he's now being punished,” the attorney said.
The youth doesn't have a behavior problem at school, according to his attorney.
“He's a good kid,” Dilucente said. “This is just an example of the fear that permeates school districts.”
He said that Schaffner was asked to leave the game immediately on Friday. On Monday, he was handed a 10-day out-of-school suspension.
Dilucente said he is talking with Fox Chapel Area officials to end the suspension as soon as possible. “We are in discussions,” he said.
Still, the youth could possibly face expulsion, Dilucente said.“It would be an error on Fox Chapel School District's part to not only hold an expulsion hearing, but then expel him,” the attorney said. “He did nothing other than forget, and he did all the things he was supposed to do.”
Neither Schaffner nor his family could be reached for comment.
District spokeswoman Bonnie Berzonski said she could not discuss the matter.
“Due to privacy laws, the school district does not discuss any student discipline situation publicly,” Berzonski said.
According to the district parent/student handbook, students who bring a weapon to school or school-related activities will be expelled for one year. Weapons include knives, firearms, Mace or bombs.
Berzonski said the superintendent has the ability to change the sanction depending on the specific case.
Dilucente said the district's action is sending the wrong message to youths.
“This is truly an unfortunate situation in the fact that we consistently teach our children to do the right thing if they accidentally make a mistake, and here is someone being punished for doing that,” Dilucente said.
“We are hopeful that the district will terminate this punishment as soon as possible.”
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Brackenridge nonprofit organization dreams BIG
- Leechburg man charged with molesting girls, watching child pornography
- Late-night fire that gutted Springdale house not suspicious
- Witness tracks down Springdale burglary suspects
- Teenage suspect in Leechburg killing held for trial
- Springdale Township standoff ends peacefully