Student disciplined after reporting knife at school

11:36 AM, Jan 9, 2012   |    comments
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13-year-old Jack Persyn was given in-school suspension after alerting his teacher to a knife he accidently brought to school.

BUFORD, Ga. (WXIA) -- A Gwinnett County family is baffled that their teenager was disciplined after he reported to his teacher that he accidently brought a small pocket knife to school.

PHOTO GALLERY | Teen suspended after reporting knife

"I hate that Jack felt like he did was he was supposed to do, and for him these are dire consequences," said Angie Persyn, the teen's mother.

Thirteen-year-old Jack Persyn was at chess club before the start of classes at Lanier Middle School in Gwinnett County when he discovered an inch-and-a-half long knife in a bag he brought to school. The military style bag was given to him as a Christmas gift from his aunt, who bought it at a yard sale.

The disciplinary report written by administrators at Lanier Middle states that the 8th grader "accidentally" brought the knife to school and that he "immediately self-reported" the weapon to his teacher.

Still, Jack was punished with four days of in-school suspension.

"There was never a safety issue," said the teen's father Bill Persyn. "No harm was done. It was a genuine honest mistake, yet he got pulled out of class for four days. I can see a one hour detention if they had to do something, but this is nonsensical."

The Gwinnett School System insists their policy on weapons in school is not zero tolerance, yet a school spokesperson said any student found to have a weapon at school will face punishment even when a student self-reports accidently having that weapon.

"We can't ignore the fact that there is a weapon on campus somewhere that someone can use," said system spokesperson Jorge Quintana. "This is obviously to keep the safety of our students in our schools."

Quintana would not discuss the Persyn case specifically, but said self-reporting is considered in cases like this that can result in minimum discipline such as in-school suspension.

Several years ago, the Gwinnett School System altered its policy to allow consideration of self-reporting. Prior to that, cases such as this one would result in a minimum 10-day out-of-school suspension.

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