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Police: 6-year-old brings knife to school, slashes student in face during recess

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 10:44 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2021 at 3:45 PM EDT
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PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - An elementary school student in Petersburg is now under investigation after police say he brought a knife to school and cut a classmate with it.

It happened at Walnut Hill elementary on Tuesday, leaving a 6-year-old student visibly injured. The school district notified parents on Wednesday after NBC12 started asking questions.

The student used a pocketknife, injuring another 6-year-old boy from his earlobe down to his face.

“They’re learning too early,” parent Corey Rook said.

It happened outside while students were at recess. When police tried to recover that weapon, the child told them he’d thrown it away.

“They were trying to contact me a few minutes ago,” said parent Tuanita Bonner, whose child attends the same school.

Wednesday, she received a robocall from the school.

“We are aware of the physical altercation that took place between two students yesterday at Walnut Hill, and we are working with the Petersburg Police Department as they investigate this matter. The investigation is still open. We encourage our families to speak with their children about safety and being safe,” a spokesperson for the school district said in a statement.

“Make sure you’re doing the best you can to maybe check some articles that you know your child is bringing on to school grounds, such as backpacks, lunch pales, anything like that, sports packs or whatnot,” Captain Dustin Sloan with Petersburg Police.

Police said they did not expect to file charges against the child, although they are consulting with other authorities, including the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

“We have these programs in place where we can bring a child in and we can explain to them - these are things that may happen if you continue on this kind of path. That way, later on in life, when they apply for jobs and prepare for college and stuff like this, they don’t have these little minor hiccups along the way that can set them back,” Sloan added.

Friday, the Commonwealth’s Attorney said she had not yet been briefed the case.

The student who was hurt is expected to be OK. Police said this was an isolated incident between those two students. No one else was hurt.

This is the school district’s policy for weapons:

WEAPONS IN SCHOOL

I. Generally

Carrying, bringing, using or possessing any firearm, dangerous device, or dangerous or deadly weapon in any school building, on school grounds, in any school vehicle or at any school-sponsored activity without the authorization of the school principal or the superintendent or superintendent’s designee is prohibited, and grounds for disciplinary action. The superintendent or superintendent’s designee is permitted to give authority to possess a firearm on school property only to persons expressly authorized by statute to possess a firearm on school property.

Such weapons include, but are not limited to:

  • any pistol, shotgun, stun weapon, revolver, or other firearm listed in Va. Code § 22.1-277.07, designed or intended to propel a projectile of any kind, including a rifle,
  • unloaded firearms in closed containers,
  • any air rifle or BB gun,
  • toy guns and look-alike guns,
  • any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, knife or razor,
  • slingshots,
  • spring sticks,
  • brass or metal knuckles, blackjacks,
  • any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain,
  • any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades, and which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart,
  • explosives, and
  • destructive devices as defined in Va. Code § 22.1-277.07, and
  • other dangerous articles.

II. Expulsion for Possession of Firearms

A student who has possessed a firearm on school property or at a school-sponsored activity as prohibited by Va. Code § 18.2-308.1 or who has possessed a firearm or destructive device as defined in Va. Code § 22.1-277.07, or a firearm muffler or firearm silencer, or a pneumatic gun as defined in Va. Code § 15.2-915.4 on school property or at a school-sponsored activity may be expelled for at least one year in accordance with Policy JGD/JGE Student Suspension/Expulsion. The School Board may determine, based on the facts of a particular situation, that special circumstances exist and no disciplinary action or another disciplinary action or another term of expulsion is appropriate. The School Board may promulgate guidelines for determining what constitutes special circumstances. The School Board authorizes the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee to conduct a preliminary review of such cases to determine whether a disciplinary action other than expulsion is appropriate. If it is determined by the superintendent or superintendent’s designee that a disciplinary action other than expulsion is appropriate, such disciplinary action is taken in accordance with Article 3 of Chapter 14 of Title 22.1 of the Code of Virginia.

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