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Student Punished for Saving Life
March 21, 2014 permalink
When sixth-grader Adrionna Harris saw another student cutting himself with a razorblade, she took the blade from him and threw it away. Virginia Beach school officials suspended her for ten days and wanted her expelled. Only public outrage when the story hit the internet got her reinstated.
Record cleared for student involved in razor incident
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach sixth grader who came to the aid of a classmate who was cutting his arm returned to school Friday with a clean record after initially facing expulsion for her actions.
Last Thursday at Bayside Middle School, Adrionna Harris took a razor from the student, threw it away and convinced him what he was doing wasn’t right.
She thought she was doing the right thing, so Friday she told the school administration what happened. The way school officials responded led to a question of if the school’s zero tolerance policy went too far.
Instead of getting praise from the school administration, Adrionna got a 10 day suspension with recommendation for expulsion.
The interesting thing — the only reason Adrionna got suspended was because she admitted what happened. The alleged weapon was thrown away, and it was her word alone that led to her suspension.
“I was shocked and surprised. I was very shocked that a student would get suspended for saving another child,” said Rachael Harris, Adrionna’s mother. “The school system over-reached absolutely.”
The school’s own details of the event state Adrionna reported the student had a razorblade. She admitted taking it from the student then throwing the blade away.
“I took the razorblade, and then I threw it away immediately … I didn’t carry it around the school … I didn’t use it against anyone … I threw it away,” she told 10 On Your Side.
“I felt she did the right thing,” said Rachael Harris. “Under the circumstances, she thought he would bleed out, as he was cutting himself, and there was no teacher in sight. It was a 911 situation, and there wasn’t time to find a teacher.”
We asked Adrionna if she would do the same thing again, knowing she would get suspended for holding the blade.
“Even if I got in trouble, it didn’t matter because I was helping him … I would do it again even if I got suspended, yes,” she said.
Most frustrating to the Harris family is they feel like they were ignored — none of their calls were returned about the incident until 10 On Your Side got involved. WAVY.com made calls and went to the school. We called school board members, who didn’t want to comment, but calls finally came in to the Harris family.
“It is amazing. They are listening to us now … she should be back in school tomorrow and that would be fair,” said Rachael Harris.
Wednesday night, Virginia Beach City Public Schools agreed to move Adrionna’s suspension hearing, which was supposed to be in ten days, to Thursday.
The Harris family arrived early for the meeting at the Laskin Road School Annex, and they had a feeling in the meeting things might go their way. It was a rough start because the first thing that greeted them was a letter stating the expulsion recommendation was off the table, but Adrionna still faced long-term suspension.
“Everyone seemed positive. They said they are going to take good care of my daughter,” said Adrian Harris, Adrionna’s father.
After the meeting, there was hope that the long-term suspension would be nixed, and late Thursday afternoon, Principal Paula Johnson called the family and told them Adrionna could return to school Friday.
“We are very happy about this, but we still are fighting to make sure none of this appears on her record,” Mr. Harris said Thursday. WAVY News’ Andy Fox learned Friday her record would be cleared.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools has been pummeled in social media for suspending Adrionna in the first place. During the meeting, Mr. Harris said it was clear the school system is tired of the negative reaction against them because of what people perceive as unfair treatment of Adrionna.
“They definitely want it to be over with. They don’t want 10 On Your Side spotlighting this issue. They are over it, and so are we,” Harris said.