New Castle News

April 9, 2013

Treatment of student called an overreaction

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

I certainly agree that students and teachers should be able to feel safe and secure from real danger.

However, I question whether the best way to achieve a safe school environment is by overreacting with a “lynch mob” approach, as has happened in the case of the New Castle student who allegedly wrote a list with “kill list” on top and who then revoked it and destroyed it.

He did not actually make a threat against anyone. What he wrote was too vague to constitute a threat.

Further, the 13-year-old student did not convey any menacing statement to anyone on the list which he revoked by destroying it.

Additionally, I cannot find anything in the Pennsylvania state law giving police the authority to order psychological tests of students or their own authority as they did in the case of the student who wrote the list.

The police could have handled the matter in a much more reasonable manner. Obviously, they saw a great opportunity to grandstand by overreacting and ignoring the student’s legal rights to due process.

If the Lawrence County district attorney and New Castle police chief were accused of some crime, they would insist that all their legal rights be respected to the last jot and tittle.

Joseph Forbes

Pittsburgh