Spotsy School News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at

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Spotsy High student just appeared on The View

Andrew Mikel II, a Spotsylvania High School freshman suspended by the school division after shooting plastic pellets at classmates through a tube, was just on ABC-TV’s The View program.

The show was originally to air earlier this year but was preempted by a speech by President Obama.

Andrew has a civil case pending against the School Board. A hearing date had not been set as of this morning.


  • Becky

    You should be able to view the show online at this site by tomorrow at the latest.

  • Mike

    I saw the show today, and I have to say if what they say is true, it is a real shame that this young mans life is being affected by the County Schools rules, and something needs to be done about it.
    They are taking this way too far as this being a weapon charge, and the way they handled it (Spoty School)!!!!!!

  • Marti

    I have to agree with Mike! There has to be more things more important than this. Kids will be kids and what he did was just something any other teen would do. Come on Spotsy HS get a grip and take actions against the kids who really deserve it!

  • Krissy

    Quit teaching our kids the rules don’t apply to them. Every year students and parents must read and sign a code of conduct. I agree that zero tolerance is sometimes harsh, but come on folks, fight to change the policy. Don’t teach our kids they are above the rules. Spitting/shooting pellets is disgusting and dangerous. How would you feel if you were ating your lunch and someones spit ball landed on you?

  • Shawna

    @Krissy, spitballs have landed on kids in schools for generations. To my knowledge not one child has been seriously injured. It is unfair for the school system to treat this child as if he had an actual weapon in the school. It makes a joke of the rules and consequences if a teen carrying a gun gets the same punishment as a teen with an empty pen. I’m not sure where common sense has gone, but clearly none is being applied in this situation.

  • Krissy

    This young boy is not being treated the same as if he had a gun. That boy would have been brought up on charges and expelled from all county schools. This kid wasn’t, he was suspended for the remainder of the year. He has options. There are alternative schools for kids who can’t follow the rules. To clarify (my mistake) these were plastic pellets being shot at other students, not spitballs. Both of which can cause harm. That isn’t the point I’m making though. Instead of fighting the school for enforcing a rule, fight the school to change the rule. It isn’t right. What message does that send to the kid? Do whatever you want, don’t worry about consequences. That’s shameful.

  • Brandy

    First, understand this…THEY WERE NOT SPIT BALLS! They were plastic pellets and could have seriously harmed someone.
    We should not be giving this case one more second of attention. The boy did wrong, he knows he did. They didn’t tell the whole story on TV…many of us know that…and he got what he deserved.


  • Matt

    I hardly feel the punishment justifies the crime. Cases like these should be handled on a case by case basis, as they are in the legal system. It’s absurd that something like this should be allowed to potentially destroy a childs future. An expulsion on your record could easily create a butterfly effect of events that could keep this child from attending, to his ability, the best universities possible. In turn this could harm his chances later in his career search or quest for a professional degree.

    I graduated 10 years ago from Chancellor High, and back then dozens of students, myself included, would bring straws and bags of popcorn kernels to school and for weeks waged all out battles with one another in class and the cafeteria. When caught, we were disciplined, and eventually ceased this horseplay when further disciplinary action was threatened. No one was ever seriously injured, and the one time I WAS hit in the eye, it was nothing that some rubbing and 20 minutes couldn’t fix. You know what hurts way worse??? A fist in your face, for which you only receive 5-10 days suspension.

    I’m a good person. Never been in trouble with the law…Finished the top of my class in HS and undergrad…and I currently hold down a fantastic career while completing a Masters degree. Had I been expelled, there’s no telling how big or small an impact it could have had on my future.

    While stupid and careless, my actions back then were minor in relation to how my life could have panned out to this moment.

    So Brandy, to say he “got what he deserves…End of story” seems a bit radical.

  • Matt

    I obviously meant “crime justifies the punishment” haha

  • Libby

    I hope some of the folks in here criticizing can step back and actually understand something. Take a pen casing, or comparable straw 3/8″ inside diameter. Take a plastic ball weighing 0.2 grams and 1/4 ” in diameter. Blow with all your might, with the ball in the tube, at you hand placed 6″ in front of the pen/ straw. You can barely feel the ball. The average distance this ball flies when blown was about 4-6′ (it’s that light). We tried this and can scientifically conclude that NO HARM COULD BE WROUGHT WITH THIS DEVICE. We will post on youtube in the near future.

    Krissy and Brandi please knock off the hype and put your educator degrees to use. It is simple to figure out how harmless this device was. And it is not a weapon, and it was not violent criminal conduct.

    Also, from a another perspective, if you committ a traffic violation, such as running a stop sign, you could potentially kill somebody. Does that mean the deputy should charge every traffic violation as murder because someone could of been seriously injured? No, in the real world, people get in trouble for what they actually do, and the consequences their actions cause, not a bunch of what ifs. Imagine how crazy this world would be if we punish everyone with what could of happened? We could “what if” everyone to the electric chair with the Spotsylvania School’s policy. Sigh.

  • Krissy

    @Matt- I get what your saying about the butterfly effect. The same can be said about him scoffing the law though. If he’s able to get away with breaking the rules now, because of public opinion, imagine what rules rules he might grow up and break.

  • Sam

    Hey Krissy, you should teach a course about how to be perfect like you. I could have used such training when I was a young boy, breaking rules by attacking folks with lethal spit-balls. I guess it is surprising that I didn’t grow up to be a career criminal! Of course I am a member of the NSBA (National Spit-Ball Association) … you will have to take the straw from my cold dead hands.

  • Bob

    Should have just gotten a smack from whoever the pellets were hitting.

  • Krissy

    @Sam- Not perfet, but law abiding. When I sign my name to a contract, you can bet I’m going to read and abide by the terms. I’m not going to disregard them and then cry when I’m held accountable. Of course, being an enabler, such as you are I don’t expect you to understand the concept of playing by the rules.

  • Rufus`

    Most kids shoot pellets, paper planes, rubber bands, crumpled paper at their classmates, and don’t mean any harm. It is a normal part of development, and harmless. It is a disgrace and anti-educational for Spotsylvania to hang this boy for his spitball. They should fire whomever expelled him.

  • Daren

    This is not Spotsy rule to suspend it is a state law : § 22.1-277.07. Expulsion of students under certain circumstances; exceptions. The other one if he wanted to be charged with criminally: § 18.2-308.1. Possession of firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property prohibited. So to be honest with you guys, you need to take it up with your lawmaker. Several years ago in Richmond a kid was killed by RPD because he used a gun to rob a store. When he was confronted by RPD he pointed it at officers in which he was killed. They found out after he was killed the gun was a toy air gun. Parents sued RPD and city and lost. So just think about if a student saw it and didn’t know it was a toy gun the fear factor goes up.

  • Morons

    Who are you morons talking about spitball’s? If you iilleterate fools could read it says PLASTIC PELLETS! What if this dumb kid had put someone’s eye out and blinded them for life? Then I guess it would be a problem to you. Why do you think our area is going to hell? Because kids aren’t being disciplined like they used to be and are growing up to be worthless piles of garbage.

  • Brandy

    Knock off the hype? Use my educator degree? That’s hilarious Libby. How about the fact that I’m a parent of a student at that school! How about the fact that as a parent at that school, with a child in the same grade, I am well aware of the behaviors of this student and NO, he is not the innocent, honor student that they are making him out to be. He’s done this before…OH YES HE HAS!
    I’m sick of parents thinking their kids can come into school, bully other kids and their should be no punishment for it. We are not responsible for Andrew’s future…ANDREW is and shame on him and his family for thinking that the rules don’t apply to him!

  • a current teacher

    As someone who has feared for my safety at work because of the improper upbringing of some of my students, I am glad that the school followed through with their code of conduct. I have experienced first-hand what happens when administration lets things slide, and it isn’t pretty for anyone except the guilty party.

  • SpitBall

    Some kids at my son’s school were shooting rubber bands at each other. Perhaps we should expel all of them for the use and possession of a weapon on school property. Heck, take it one step further and press assault charges.

    Hey, it’s no more ridiculous than this story. It’s a shame that “zero tolerance” has replace the use of common sense.

  • SpitBall

    Hey Moron, I’d just like to take a quick sidebar and point out that if you are going to call someone illiterate, you should probably spell it correctly. Otherwise, you just look like a moron. At least you chose an appropriate name!

  • Rufus`

    Everyone should see, “Waiting For Superman”. This movie explains why teachers are overpaid, and can’t be fired when they deserve it.
    Whoopi is right to pick on Spotsylvania schools. Teachers should have bonded with this boy and worked out any issues they were having with him.
    See “Waiting For Superman”.
    After watching The View, I think some parents will be taking their kids out of Spotsylvania PS, and homeschooling the poor youngsters.

  • Wow

    This decision was an administration decision, not the teacher’s decision, Rufus. It is exhausting hearing how everything is the teacher’s fault when all the teacher did was report an incident as directed. There are so many good teachers out there who are doing an awesome job that should never be clumped in with such generalizations. If we keep being so negative towards our teachers and the job they do, we’ll never have anyone who wants to teach our children. We need to get behind our teachers and our children. We need to realize when our children have done wrong, help our children learn from their mistakes, and to help them accept the consequences of their decisions. We need to get the media to focus on what is good in our schools because there is plenty of good to share! Perhaps if we are sharing the good, the positve vibes will spread to the schools/teachers that are struggling. It is a lot easier to improve yourself when you are around positive people.

    By the way, if parents are persuaded to take their child out of Spotsy schools by a show such as “The View”, I’m not sure how much they will be missed. Their points of view are often one-sided. I will watch the show if I happen to be around at that time, but I take everything with a grain of salt since they are often just stating their opinions.

  • John

    My child was suspended from a Spotsylvania elementary school for brandishing a deadly weapon. What was the deadly weapon? He made a gun with his thumb & finger while playing with his buddies. He was just playing, no child felt scared or threatened but the teacher sent him to the office where he was suspended and we were told that they could have called the sheriff’s office on him. My child is a straight A student and this was his first trip to the office. I have always supported the school, but I am finding it hard to after foolishness such as this.

  • Jess

    It seems alot of details are being left out. Did this kid have any warnings? Calling them plastic pellets makes them sound dangerous but I have doubt about that. I would only agree with this harsh punishment if it was a bullying issue. Other than that, I think the school is trying to get rid of a trouble maker versus dealing with/ teaching him. I don’t agree with the idea that all rules should be followed…we aren’t in the military here! I broke rules in high school such as leaving the school property for lunch. Being an A+ student, and never actually skipping class other than study halls…I argued it should be ok, so I did it. (Although I did get 1 detention.) But guess what…I’m not in jail today!, actually receiving my doctorate degree in 1 more year. I WONDER WHERE I WOULD BE IF I WAS SUSPENDED FROM MY HIGH SCHOOL BACK THEN…hmmm. “Rules” are never perfect…but common sense should be!

  • Brandy

    This was a bullying issue…he was asked by the victims to stop and he said NO. When asked why, he said because he felt like it!
    You need to KNOW the whole story, not just the clips you hear from the Mikel family and a TV show.
    This is not a child who was never in trouble. The pellets WERE plastic, so relieve yourself of any doubt.
    I’d also like to point out that there were a lot of things that people did “back in the day” that are no longer okay…drinking and smoking while pregnant, not wearing a seatbelt, just to name a few. The laws have changed and so have the rules in school. They signed the Code, they knew the deal, now suck it up!

  • Brandy

    Oh, and before there are any snide remarks, I’m well aware that there is no law banning someone from drinking and smoking while pregnant. But we all know it’s not a good thing, something no one thought about years ago.

    Just thought I’d clear that up!

  • Libby


    The only word I can think of to describe your rants are “hateful.” Nowheere in the Code of Conduct could anyone reasonably conclude that shooting plastic balls through a pen could amount to a weapon, and that doing this would be considered “violent criminal conduct.”

    And yes, he did get charged under the Code of Conduct under the same provisions that someone bringing a gun to school and actually shooting folks.

    Will you stand up this strongly against the school and school board when it is discovered that they were dishonest in reporting this? That they themselves violated their own Code of Conduct in prosecuting this boy? I doubt it because it is obvious you are not interested in the truth, just unrelenting hatred towards a freshman boy who never met the high school administrators in a negative way before this incident.

  • Brandy

    Right Libby, my “rants” are hateful. The only thing hateful here is the behavior of this boy.

    I have no issue with a freshman boy, what I do take issue with is lying. Our school board is far from perfect, however, neither is Andrew. He needs to take responsiblity for his actions. He hasn’t. He’s made excuses and his father has gone along with it.

    Apologies are not always the way to correction. That’s a start, but there are consequences. Do I feel sorry for Andrew, yes I do. I feel sorry that he continues to believe that he is in the right. I feel sorry that he continues to blame others for the consequences of his own actions.

    As far as the truth Libby, I’m well aware of the truth. It sounds to me like you’re the one who doesn’t want to see it.