Ted - While your question was rhetorical I'll answer it for sarcasm's sake: Yes, I've read the label. It says "Avoid eye contact". But my hair dryer also says "don't use in bathtub". Obviously a laser pointer is a bright light, a concentrated bright light. And yes, exposure (7-10 seconds) can/will cause damage. To date there have been only TWO cases of people having retinal scarring as a result of this type of laser (of the pointer variety, class IIIa less than 5mW). In both of those cases the individual stared into the light for 30+ seconds.
While I'm certain your post was intended for 'shock' value, it does give me some insight to the ignorance regarding laser pointers. I am surprised by your response however, it seemed inconsistent with what one would expect from a legal advice board. But my fight is not with you good sir. I do thank you for your comments/opinions. While seemingly very unhelpful on the surface, extremely helpful below.
I realize that honesty and our justice system are a little at odds with one another.
But yes, as an honest person we're not trying to trick the system or find some loophole. I do feel that discipline was in order, but suspension I feel is a bit over the top...though not unjustified. Expulsion is just a ridiculous level of punishment. As is (I believe) the suspension from 12/7 to 1/18 (after expulsion hearing decision).
Obviously, no one can see into the minds of those that will hear the matter (principal or not, biased or not).
My goal here is to keep my son for being expelled over a matter I feel could have been resolved with a detention. He's a 10 year old kid, non-malicious, who took a toy to school. Yes, something I consider to be a toy (at least the cat loved chasing it).
He 'showed off to friends in class' and 'tried to look cool'...because, let's face it. Laser pointers are cool. He didn't intentionally point it at anyone's face (he knows there are risks with a pointer). He's not a bad/problem child...and to date has only ever had one 'incident' of merit (at this school), where he and his best friend were kung fu'ing (play fighting) in the playground.
Yes he's deserving of discipline...but he's getting the death penalty (in school terms) for ignorance.
When another student told on him and notified the teacher, the teacher asked for the flashlight and it was given without argument.
Here's where the logic part of my brain kicks in...maybe not for you Ted...but for me.
If a laser pointer is no longer in someones hand, is it a dangerous object?
If someone is suspended for bringing a dangerous object to school, and NO longer possesses the object, are THEY (or IT) still a danger to others?
So, to me, it is illogical to suspend someone "just because". Yeah, definitely in need of instruction/education and/or discipline. But NO LONGER a threat to himself and others.
IF after instruction/education and/or discipline he was caught bringing a laser pointer to school then DEFINITELY suspension with expulsion consideration (if not immediate expulsion).
ALL objects have the potential of being a dangerous object. Thousands of teachers and professors use laser pointers daily. Homeowners and contractors use tools with lasers in them...shooting across the walls. People get 'flashed' by lasers daily. If they were so "dangerous" you'd hear more about it.
A chair in the hands of a student hitting another student makes the chair a dangerous object? Or it makes the student a dangerous student?
So him getting suspended with a recommendation to expel means they consider him a dangerous student. One that will continue to bring dangerous objects to school in the future...regardless of how dangerous and/or safe a laser pointer might be.
Of course, I find a first incident (with no previous history of danger, violence, or poor judgement) offense to warrant the death penalty (sorry for the sarcasm, Ted's response has me a bit irked).
He's a regular kid, in a regular 5th grade class. Caught up in the foolishness of 'the system'.
This educational code couldn't have been written to list EVERY possible dangerous object, that's just not practical. So a blanket statement was used. But it's my opinion that the intent of the phrasing meant things like: firecrackers, slingshots, clubs, pipes, etc. Objects that could readily be used as a weapon...and were brought with that intent.
A rock is a dangerous object that has no use to a pupil, but there are lots of those in the school yard. And I'm sure that at some point a student has picked one up and thrown it. Has the school expelled itself for providing so many dangerous objects to students?
Even the spforks used in the cafeteria have the potential for danger.
Obviously, no one knows what the expulsion board will decide. And I wasn't asking anyone to be a mind reader.
But I don't communicate well, as I tend to be condescending, over bearing, and far too sarcastic. And if my kid's only defense is me...we might as well start digging that grave.
So genuinely I was worried that the school board expulsion folks would be more strict as a result of getting a lawyer involved. My goal here is to keep my kid from being expelled. While I'd love to sit down with the principal and share with her what an idiot I think she is for the extreme level of reaction (and already have done so to some degree on the telephone), my only goal is the protection of my son.
I can't change the past...nor do I want to lie or try and trick anyone. I think the response to the incident is way over the top and I'm trying to keep him from being expelled.
Lawyers are expensive (though worth every penny). I was hoping to get some opinions from folks on FindLaw whether they felt that getting a lawyer in this instance was wise.
Sparkly, I believe I've answered your questions in the text above, save one:
In the past 4 years my son has had 1 incident of 'record'.
He saw a friend of his being beaten up by another and he came over to protect his friend.
He pushed the other boy away and yelled "leave him alone"...of course the teacher ONLY saw him pushing the other boy away.
Prior to last year he was in private schools (Montessori's) hit public for 4th and 5th grades.
I value and appreciate all comments, remarks, suggestions, and opinions.
I thank you for taking YOUR time to share with me, as it may be helpful to my situation.
PS sorry for the lack of carriage returns in initial post (Chrome browser issue), look much better using IE.