DA: Knife is both a tool and a weapon

SHEILA MATHEWS ::: sheila@the-grip.net

Criminal cases against two local students charged with felonies after bringing knives to school will move forward through the Juvenile Court system.

Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Ballard said the students, a 12-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy — will appear before Judge Ben Miller, who will determine their fate as soon as Nov. 26.

“Yes, they will come through the court system, but I don’t think anyone will be going to juvenile detention over it, and it’s because they’re so young,” Ballard said. “The age of criminal accountability in Georgia is 13, so if you’re under the age of 13, you aren’t even responsible for your crimes.”

He said the two minor defendants will be required to either admit or deny the allegations the face.

“If they admit the crime, they’re punished. If they deny the act they’re accused of, they’ll stand trial, but it’s just a trial in front of a judge,” he said.

With the statutory age of criminal accountability set at 13, Ballard said it is atypical for children under that age to be criminally charged. Asked why these students are facing designated felony charges, he said, “It’s a good question.”

He did acknowledge he finds it alarming that children are bringing weapons to school, and that it cannot be tolerated.

“But I’m not sure that was the right way to have handled it,” Ballard said specifically of the 12-year-old girl, a Rehoboth Road Middle School student who was charged while a male classmate who also had possession of the same knife was not charged. “I don’t envy the schools for having to deal with these incidents at all, but I think you have to look at the facts in each individual case. I don’t like zero tolerance. You’ve got to use common sense and look at what’s really going on.”

Ballard went on to say that a firearm should always be considered a weapon, but that the same does not necessarily apply to knives.

“A knife is both a tool and a weapon, and whether it’s a weapon depends on the intent of who’s holding it,” he said. “I think that needs to be taken into consideration in each case, because it’s not against the law to possess a tool at school. Just speaking generally, I think you should look at what really happened instead of applying zero tolerance to every situation.” Ω



  1. Dissinter says:

    Well, what did you expect when you caved to the fear mongering over violence in society? Didn’t you know that only those in “authority” are allowed to use violence and to violate?

  2. If DA pursues this then he is definetly a tool. When did common sense die in Griffin.

    • Common sense starting dying a slow death nationally about 30 years ago when “progressives” started gaining positions of power and “political correctness” began to grow. Thankfully, Griffin and most of the south have been a bit slower to get stupid, but it’s still creeping in. I took my dad’s Japanese carbine he picked up on Iwo Jima to school – with bayonet attached – for show and tell when I was a kid. Nobody got upset, no one died, no one was arrested. JD

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