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Questions raised after differences in school's punishment for teen and boy

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A high school student shot a pellet gun at school and hit a student but remained on campus, and now we're hearing about a 10-year-old boy who was taken to juvenile detention. Because of these two incidents, families have some questions for Cy-Fair ISD when it comes to how it disciplines its students.

The 10-year-old boy's family says he was taken into custody Wednesday at Emmott Elementary School. They're asking whether the school district is equally applying its own zero-tolerance discipline policy.

Anna Patterson says she watched in disbelief Wednesday as her 10-year-old great-grandson was hauled away from Emmott Elementary to juvenile detention.

"I was really hurt," she said. "I couldn't believe that they were going to, you know, take him down. I was really hurt."

Cy-Fair ISD says Darrin Banks caused chaos inside his classroom. They accuse him of vandalizing school property. A district spokesperson also says, "Assaulting a public servant is against the law."

However she couldn't say if the teacher was hurt. Still, compare this incident to that which we reported at Cy Creek High School just a day ago. A student there was neither detained nor expelled, even though he allegedly shot another student on campus in the face with a pellet gun. The district tells us a pellet gun is not on a list of prohibited weapons in the student handbook.

Patterson doesn't see equal application of discipline in these cases.

"I would have thought that they would've been arrested," she said.

Patterson admits Banks has been suspended repeatedly from school. The school district meantime says there are "some inaccuracies in the information" Patterson is claiming. Privacy laws however prohibit Cy-Fair ISD from specifying what those might be.

Patterson says her great-grandson has ADHD and takes medication for it. The 10-year-old Banks remained in custody Thursday night at the juvenile justice center downtown. Privacy laws keep officials from telling us what charges, if any, he actually faces. A court hearing is set for Friday morning.

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