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Lawyer: Fox Chapel Area student does right after mistakenly bringing pocketknife to football game but still suspended

| Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A Fox Chapel Area student will spend up to 10 days suspended from school for what his lawyer calls “doing the right thing.”

A 16-year-old male was suspended this week for having a knife in his possession, said an attorney for the family, Phil DiLucente.

The unidentified student reported to a security guard at last week's Foxes Friday night football game that he had a pocketknife with him, the lawyer said.

“He had just come from hunting in the woods in his backyard and he forgot it was in his pocket,” DiLucente said. “He voluntarily turned it in, did the right thing and he's now being punished.”

The student was asked to leave the game and, on Monday, he was handed a 10-day out-of-school suspension, DiLucente said.

Neither the student nor his family was able to be immediately reached for comment.

District Coordinator of Communications Bonnie Berzonski said she could not comment.

“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.

The district superintendent may change the punishment on a case-by-case basis.

DiLucente said he is working to schedule a meeting with district personnel to resolve the incident.

He believes it sends the wrong message to youth.

“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.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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