GUN Zero Tolerance Results in Felony Charge for Ten Year Old Child

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by thegooch, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. thegooch

    thegooch OT Supporter

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    http://www.11alive.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=124359&catid=40&GID=juD5/d++YtmiZjwqGKDay6Tw1TGed4c0A5QCiVJAOvA%3D

    NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. -- The latest case of zero-tolerance at the public schools has a 10-year-old student sadder and wiser, and facing expulsion and long-term juvenile detention. And it has his mother worried that his punishment has already been harsher than the offense demands.

    "I think I shouldn't have brought a gun to school in the first place," said the student, Alandis Ford, sitting at home Thursday night with his mother, Tosha Ford, at his side.

    Alandis' gun was a "cap gun," a toy cowboy six-shooter that his mother bought for him.
    "We got it from Wal-Mart for $5.96," Tosha Ford said, "in the toy section right next to the cowboy hats. That's what he wanted because it was just like the ones he was studying for the Civil War" in his fifth-grade class at Fairview Elementary School.


    "It kind of reminded me of the [soldiers'] guns that I was studying," Alandis said, "because I had brought pictures home of the gun and stuff, and that gun that I had reminded me of the revolver" depicted in his textbook.

    Tosha said that Wednesday afternoon, after school, "six police officers actually rushed into the door" of their home. "He [Alandis] opened the door because they're police. And then they just kind of pushed him out of the way, and asked him, 'Well where's the gun, where's the real gun?' And they called him a liar... they booked him, and they fingerprinted him."
    The "police officers" were actually Newton County Sheriff's Deputies.

    Lt. Mark Mitchell said Thursday that Alandis had used the toy gun to threaten other children on the school bus and in his neighborhood, which Alandis denies.
    Alandis was charged with possessing a weapon on school property and with terroristic acts and threats.

    "On the school bus," on Tuesday, Alandis said, "when I dug into my bookbag trying to get my phone out, the boy beside me, he reached in my bookbag and got it [the toy gun] and started telling everybody, 'He's got a gun, he's got a gun,' and spread it around the whole bus. So I put it back in my bookbag."

    But he said the students kept shouting, "He's going to shoot all y'all, he's got a gun, he's going to bring it to school and shoot all y'all." Did Alandis ever say anything like that or make any threatening moves with his toy gun? "No!"
    The school bus driver never caught on to what the students were saying, and as a result never confiscated Alandis' toy gun.
    There is video from inside the school bus, and investigators are reviewing it.

    The next afternoon, Wednesday afternoon, Alandis and his cousin went to the home of a friend in the neighborhood, another 10-year-old boy, to play with him.
    "And we told him, 'We came over to see if you can come out.' He saw the gun that I had. So he ran in the house and called 911."
    Alandis said he found out later that his friend had never before seen a gun and thought it was real, and thought Alandis might shoot it. Alandis insists he never said anything to the friend other than inviting him to come out and play.

    "The 911 call that we received" on Wednesday, Lt. Mitchell said, "was that a 10-year-old male was outside of a residence with a gun threatening to shoot another child."
    Mitchell was referring to the incident report from the Newton County Sheriff's investigators who write that deputies "responded to a 911 call from a ten-year-old [neighbor of the Fords] who said there was a boy outside of his house with a gun trying to kill him."
    Lt. Mitchell said that, apart from Alandis' denial that he made any threats, investigators quickly realized that the only gun Alandis had was his cap gun.

    "In this day and time, we do not take anything lightly, whether it's a toy gun or a real weapon, for the safety of the kids and everyone involved, the safety of the school. That's our main concern." [GCO - Did he really mean to say that they do not take toys lightly?]
    Tosha Ford agrees that Alandis should not have brought the toy gun to school, and did not know that he did, but she said the reaction that unfolded was overblown [GCO - That is the understatement of the week], due to rumors that school children quickly spread.
    "Someone heard that Alandis had a toy gun in his bookbag and said, 'Oh, Alandis is going to bring a gun, he's going to shoot everybody.' He [Alandis] was wrong, he should never have taken it to school. And I told him that. And he's being punished" at home. "But also on the other side of the coin, I think it's a travesty what's happened to him.... For them to say that's he's made terroristic threats is just ridiculous. We've taken it and changed what 'terroristic threats' was meant to be for. And with children saying that 'he's got a gun, he's got a gun,' it's gotten blown out of proportion.... I don't think they handled it very well. I know it's their job, but I think they took it to the extreme."

    Sherri Viniard, the Director of Public Relations for the Newton County School System, emailed a statement to 11Alive News Thursday that reads, in part:
    "Student safety is our primary concern, and although this was a toy gun, it is still a very serious offense and it is a violation of school rules. We will not tolerate weapons of any kind on school property." [GCO - It's not a weapon! It's a toy. It is not a weapon "of any kind." It may be a violation of your silly rules, but to claim it is a "serious offense" really stretches our credulity beyond the breaking point.]
    Alandis had his first hearing in juvenile court on Thursday. Tosha said the case worker assigned to Alandis will recommend a period of probation, rather than juvenile detention. [GCO - What? Don't they have to find him guilty first?] The judge will make the final decision.
    Tosha said Alandis is not allowed back in school for now. She has a meeting scheduled with school administrators.

    She does not know if he will be expelled, and is hoping for no more than a ten-day suspension. [GCO - Expelled for a cap gun? Is this a serious suggestion?]
    "A toy gun is a toy gun," Lt. Mitchell said, "to be played with and for kids to have fun with. But when kids use it the wrong way, just like anything, then it can be scary."
    And that's the crux of the dispute about the "terroristic threats" charge, whether Alandis purposely did anything to scare anyone, or whether other children over-reacted at the sight of his toy gun.

    For the record, Alandis knows what he wants to be when he grows up -- a police officer. And that hasn't changed.
    "You know, he's a 10-year-old little boy who wants to be a police officer," Tosha said. He also has "little walky-talkies and stuff, because they like to play police and recon."
    Innocence of child's play now lost, she says, no matter what the outcome of the case is.
     
  2. amac88

    amac88 New Member

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    Wow, now he wont be able to get a real job or anything...at least not til hes 18. A felony might stick with you even longer than that. Zero tolerance bullshit just ruined this kid's life.
     
  3. Bloody Sunday

    Bloody Sunday OT Supporter

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    also, he won't be able to purchase a real gun

    this is how they do this shit.
     
  4. GlobeGuy

    GlobeGuy New Member

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    I feel bad for the boy.
     
  5. hsmith

    hsmith OT Supporter

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    Liberalism is a brain disease.

    And Ted Kennedy is dying proof.
     
  6. Fire Sauce

    Fire Sauce New Member

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    This isn't Liberalism at work, this is Fascism at work.
     
  7. cent

    cent New Member

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    the problem with the laws are that 1) guns aren't allowed on campus (I think you should be able to conceal carry in any school/college as long as you have a conceal carry permit) and 2) there is no word "intent" in the law and you have overzealous school administrators.

    i remember when I was in high school an assistant principal found a...i dunno what you'd call it, but it was a plastic brightly colored pistol that shot yellow b-b sized rubber balls from it. they didn't even sting when hit and barely shot 10 feet. anyway the principal went ape shit over it, but never did find out whose it was (i didn't know whose it was either tho)
     
  8. KNYTE

    KNYTE I'm Not Kidding.

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    Sickening.
     
  9. JP

    JP Active Member

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    god i used to take those to school, hell there were in the toy chest when i was in kindergarden. :hs:

    guess alot has changed in 20 years
     
  10. xpinchx

    xpinchx hes got a nice cock, on the thin side but its stil

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    I remember in 4th grade I accidentally took a toy UZI (it was bright green w/ the orange tip so it was obviously fake) to school... I was using my backpack the day before to play army with my friends. Anyway some kid saw it and snitched on me, the principal took it away and told me to never bring it again. :rofl: I got it back at the end of the day and that was that.

    Shit has changed a lot since we were kids. :hs:
     
  11. GlobeGuy

    GlobeGuy New Member

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    We can make plastic guns now, didn't you learn from teh movies? That's why they can't risk having a toy gun in schools, they can be a real firearm!
     
  12. JP

    JP Active Member

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    i took a freakin m16 that had this shit inside that sparked when you hit the trigger for show and tell, everyone thought it was badass

    and no orange tip
     
  13. Mace Windu

    Mace Windu OT's Resident Pile of Awesome

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    /facepalm

    Society needs a reboot.
     
  14. LancerV

    LancerV Something Happened OT Supporter

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    I can has Glock 7?
     
  15. JaimeZX

    JaimeZX Formerly of :Sep 2001: fame - Also: Sprout Crew OT Supporter

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    I went to the district's web page here:
    http://www.newtoncountyschools.org/contact.asp


    And submitted this comment:
    ======================================
    Sir/Ma'am:
    I read with some dismay about the recent case of a Mr. Alandis Ford being heavily penalized for bringing a cap gun to school. In my opinion, the boy didn't do anything wrong. I am amazed that the punishment was more severe than simply confiscating it for the day and asking him to not bring it back the next day.

    Possible expulsion and felony charges are, again in my opinion, criminal in their overreaction. I think it's important to step back and look at the big picture here. This whole incident could be used as a teaching moment for the vast majority of the student population with regards to situational analysis and critical thinking.

    Furthermore, I read your district's policy on weapons as per this document:
    http://www.newtoncountyschools.org/board/ncss-policy-jcdae_weapons.asp

    Again, it seems to me fairly draconian. I, for one, carried a Swiss Army knife from 4th grade on and never felt compelled to act violently. I’m surprised more people don’t carry knives around for their considerable usefulness.

    Frankly, I think you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater here.

    In any event, I just figured I'd share my thoughts with you, for whatever they might be worth.

    Regards,

    Jim Morford
     
  16. JaimeZX

    JaimeZX Formerly of :Sep 2001: fame - Also: Sprout Crew OT Supporter

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    Reply:
    =======================================
    Dear Mr. Morford,

    Thank you for writing and expressing your opinion. We have rules that we expect
    everyone to follow. Those rules, along with the consequences for breaking those
    rules, are given to every student, parent and employee.

    Further, all of the details of this incident have not been reported by the news
    media and that unfortunately leads people to make assumptions and jump to
    conclusions without factual information to support them. The school district did
    not say anything about expulsion--in fact, the school district was not
    interviewed for the story on the TV news. What you saw was one side of the
    story. The reporter asked for a written statement about our rule on weapons
    brought on school property and that is what they were sent. Nowhere in my
    statement did it say anything about discipline or even expulsion. Please keep in
    mind that when you see reports on tv or in the paper you aren't always getting
    the full details of the event--you are often only getting one side. And that is
    what you saw--one side of the story.

    School systems are legally required to protect the privacy of a student, even if
    a student or parent chooses to release information on their own to the media.
    That often ties the hands of the spokesperson for the school system as we cannot
    respond to information that may or may not be reported accurately. I do hope you
    will take that into consideration before passing any judgment.

    Please know that your opinion is understood, appreciated, and respected. I hope
    you will understand and respect that there are rules that a school system must
    have in place and must follow at all times. My child, too carries a pocket knife
    when he is not in school as he, as is is father, is a hunter. In fact, my
    husband it a hunter, hunter safety instructor, former police officer, and
    retired military cop. There is more information that the school system just
    cannot release; it's unfortunate that the media, and then the blogs, choose to
    sensationalize events. As I told the reporter from 11-Alive, "you failed to ask
    the right questions in your interview."

    Thank you for taking the time to send in your opinion. Please know that it is
    appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    Sherri Viniard
    Director of Public Relations

    =====================================
    Not a terrible reply at that. The media get something wrong? :noes:


    Edit: I wrote back.
    =====================================
    Ma'am:



    I can certainly understand that there is more to the incident than you are allowed to divulge. Naturally I can only form an opinion based on the information presented, and I hope you would agree that based upon the story portrayed in the media, your district's actions seem excessive. I can certainly withhold judgement on the case pending more information at a later date.

    Furthermore, we are in agreement that rules ought to be followed. I simply feel that your "weapons policy" is, as I said, overly restrictive. However, as neither I nor my children live in your district, I can only express concern that your students will become calloused to such strict guidelines.

    Thank you for taking the time to write back.

    Regards,

    Jim Morford
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
  17. Bloody Sunday

    Bloody Sunday OT Supporter

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    thanks for sharing that letter, Mr. Morford
     
  18. Bloody Sunday

    Bloody Sunday OT Supporter

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  19. Bloody Sunday

    Bloody Sunday OT Supporter

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    since he shared his full name, i did a quick google search. it's just a coincidence, i assume
     
  20. JP

    JP Active Member

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    now that would be something :rofl:
     
  21. JaimeZX

    JaimeZX Formerly of :Sep 2001: fame - Also: Sprout Crew OT Supporter

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    That's my homie.
     
  22. kellyclan

    kellyclan She only loves you when she's drunk.

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    NCSD sounds like a bag of smashed assholes.
     
  23. smartypants

    smartypants New Member

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    Newton County is a county in South metro Atlanta that has recently gone to shit because of the reversal of White Flight.

    Intown neighborhoods are becoming whiter and outer suburbs are becoming darker.
     
  24. nakedbrian3433

    nakedbrian3433 I don't have time to bleed. OT Supporter

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  25. DaninTexas

    DaninTexas OT Supporter

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    Wow. America really is at its end. How sad that #1 its happening #2 I have to watch it happen.
     

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