A fourth grader at Urbana East Elementary was flailing and waving around scissors last week, and minor injuries resulted, school officials say.

On April 26 at the school, Superintendent Charles Thiel said, a student grabbed a pair of scissors and disrupted a class.

As staff tried to settle the student, a student may have been scratched. Another student’s ankle and foot were bumped by a chair, he said.

Thiel said the scratched student did not go to a nurse, although the other student did for the ankle injury. The Urbana Police Division was called to help settle down the student with the scissors.

Police Chief Matt Lingrell said police were called at 1:22 p.m., and two officers responded.

The student was reported to have become disruptive, “running around with scissors in his hand, pounding on walls and hollering, disrupting this class and a class that was nearby testing,” Lingrell said. “He apparently threw a chair and continued to act out as staff intervened.”

The student’s parent was notified and staff and the parent worked together to deal with the behavioral issues, Thiel said.

Police stayed on the call for 40 minutes as the administration met with the student and the student’s parents and began “implementing an internal remedy for (the student’s) conduct,” Lingrell said.

A police report was not officially filed, Lingrell added, as the school handled the matter.

Other students’ parents were not notified at the time because the rest of the day, district personnel were dealing with the behavior of the student and working with the police to ensure everyone’s safety, Thiel said, adding that East Principal Jill Weimer did not have the opportunity to notify other parents.

“We had not had a chance to do an investigation on what took place or question other students about what happened,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons parents were not contacted. At the time, we knew a child got upset. There were no injuries that we were aware of.”

After the situation was resolved, staff learned a student had been scratched and another had sustained an ankle or foot injury. Thiel said the student was hit by the chair as the other student was flailing about. Thiel said the scratched student chose not to see the nurse when asked by a teacher.

The fourth grader was disciplined, though Thiel said he could not discuss the discipline. He said the district typically does not discuss discipline.

Thiel said it appeared this was not a planned assault or a repeat assault, so does not fit the state’s definition of bullying, which is multiple incidents of the same type against students.

Thiel said the district is working to improve the environment in its schools. Staffing has been added or adjusted to bring in a full-time guidance counselor at East Elementary. Previously, the guidance position was split between East and the junior high. Staff is also working to teach students appropriate behavior at school, starting at the first-grade level, he said.

“Impulse control can be difficult for students,” Thiel said, adding students need to learn how they act at home can be different from accepted behavior in school. “In the past, we didn’t have to teach kids how to line up and keep their hands to themselves or how to interact on a playground.”

By Casey S. Elliott


Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.