Student suspended, may face expulsion for ‘doing the right thing’

Swiss_army_knifeA 16-year-old Pittsburgh-area student received a 10-day suspension for “doing the right thing,” according to his lawyer.

When the student, David Schaffner III, attended a Fox Chapel football game, he realized he still had his pocketknife with him from earlier in the day. Because he reported the fact to a security guard at the game, he was disciplined this week, according to TribLive.com.

Phil Dilucente, the boy’s attorney, said Tuesday that Schaffner spent Friday afternoon preparing a hunting site and forgot the knife was in his pocket.

“He went to the game without changing,” Dilucente said. “When he got there, he saw a sign about the no-weapons policy on school property. He remembered the knife and he told a security guard about it.”

The guard took the knife to the principal rather than holding onto it for Schaffner, and told him to immediately leave the game. On Monday the student was given a 10-day suspension.

“Instead of saying good job to him for being forthright and doing the right thing, they decided to make it into a federal case,” Dilucente said.“He voluntarily turned it in, did the right thing — and he’s now being punished.”

The lawyer said Schaffner has no behavioral issues at school.

“He’s a good kid,” Dilucente said. “This is just an example of the fear that permeates school districts.”

The lawyer is working to get the suspension reduced, but Schaffner could face even greater disciplinary measures, including expulsion.

“It would be an error on Fox Chapel School District’s part to not only hold an expulsion hearing, but then expel him,” the attorney said. “He did nothing other than forget, and he did all the things he was supposed to do.”

Although the lawyer had plenty to say, the school remains reticent about the incident.

District spokeswoman Bonnie Berzonski said she couldn’t comment.

“Due to privacy laws, the school district does not discuss any student discipline situation publicly,” she said.

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