PONTIAC (WWJ)– The Pontiac School Board has expelled a third grader, after it was discovered the student pricked the fingers of some classmates with a diabetes testing device.

Eight-year-old Willie Ratcliff is a third grader at Jefferson-Whittier Elementary School. Officials said he was using the device, known as a lancet, to poke fellow classmates. In all, up to 13 children were poked by the lancet.

Diabetics use the device to get a sample of blood to test their blood sugar.

The boy’s mother said he did not bring the lancet to school, but it was given to him by someone else.

This week, the school board voted to expel the boy, which means he will not be allowed to return to classes until January of 2012.

Comments (9)
  1. A Michigan Resident says:

    This news topic is more about a health problem in Michigan. Obesity and diabetes has consumed the state of Michigan. Its no wonder the growth industry in Michigan is healthcare.

    Michiganders need to do more physical work, eat less food and improve their health and conditioning. No company or industry will bring work to a state full of unhealthy workers? Shouldering Michigan healthcare costs is just too high.

    Michiganders must get healthier, smarter and ambitious to attract business and employment to this state.

    1. Ed says:

      How on Earth does this story have anything to do with a health problem in Michigan? Are you reading the same article that I am? I am dumbfounded by your response

  2. Gary says:

    Over reaction by the school board. Expell a 3rd grader? Teach him about the danger of his actions but keep him in school. Sending him home is ridiculous.

  3. Bill says:

    I think this punishment is a bit extreme – he is only a third grader, no great harm was caused and he wasn’t acting mean or vicious.

  4. BrandyB. says:

    Extreme? What if those children he pricked with the test was now diagnosed with a disease they contracted from the classmate he poked before them? While he may not have meant it in a mean way, he could have ruined some 13 lives by transmitting some disease. Its not like he’s not allowed to attend any school. His parents can enroll him somewhere else. I have to commend the school board for taking this action!

    1. Michael says:

      Brandy – You’re correct, it is serious. But we’re talking about a third grader here. Someone who is 8 years old. About a device he apparently didn’t bring to school, it wasn’t his, and he didn’t even pick it up and poke first – another one did, and she apparently wasn’t suspended. No one is minimizing the risk here, but there’s a reasonable and productive response available – and this certainly isn’t it. Teach, allow this child to learn this is wrong rather than creating more problems for this child in the future. A brief suspension could even be warranted, because of that potential health risk at play. But not 180 days. That’s just totally counterproductive. And enroll somewhere else? Do you know Pontiac at all or have any sense of what it’s like to attend a school district like that? We aren’t talking suburban mini-van driving families here. Seriously. The school board is totally unreasonable here.

  5. Mom2boys says:

    This is a child, and a quite young one at that. Does he even realize there are blood-borne diseases that are communicable? I doubt it. I think suspension would have been far more appropriate IF…the kids were voluntarily allowing him to poke them with the lancet. However, if the young boy was sneaking up on others and poking them to get a reaction, then that may be a different story. We are not told this fact in this story.

  6. Cathy says:

    I think it’s just awful that they expelled this boy. The ONLY way I can see him deserving such treatment is if he had a history of violent acts and if they can prove that the boy understood that what he was doing was putting others at risk of contracting potentially lethal diseases. I think that’s a stretch for a third grader. Kids do stupid things; they’re children. Yet, in our society, we don’t allow them to be kids anymore. We assume they know as much as adults and that they are acting with malicious intent. It’s more likely this kid was using the device as a poking or pinching tool.

    Where did the boy get the lancet? If it belonged to a teacher who left it out, should that teacher be fired?

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