NINETEEN STUDENTS DISCIPLINED IN NAIL SHOOTINGS

October 12, 2001 11:00 pm

Nineteen Brookings-Harbor High School students were suspended last week following a police investigation of students using rubber bands to shoot nails, one of which struck a student in the eye.

According to Brookings Police Officer Curt Fox, freshman Tyler Harroun was hit in the eye on Oct. 5 by a sharp, U-shaped nail, which causes a serious injury.

Principal Floyd Strandberg said that numerous students admitted to or were observed shooting the nails and other items in the hallway that day. As of Friday, officials had not determine which student actually hit Harroun and were waiting to gather more evidence.

Strandberg said the students got the U-shaped nails from a box in wood shop class. He didnt know where the bent finishing nails used by some students came from. The rubber bands, he said, came from classes, home and a math class project.

Strandberg said Harroun was injured while standing in the hallway after second lunch period. He said Harroun didnt think the injury was bad and didnt seek treatment at first. However, he changed his mind by 4:30 p.m.

On Friday, Donald Harroun Jr., said his son, Tyler, was recovering from surgery. The doctor replaced his damaged eye lens.

He made it through that pretty well, but he has a long road ahead of him with many visits to the doctor, Harroun said.

Tyler was taken to a retinal specialist in Medford on Wednesday. and returned on Friday. The family is hoping for a full recovery, but it is too early to tell, Harroun said.

Fox and school officials began investigating the incident over the weekend, contacting students and parents for information.

Fox said the student responsible for hitting Harroun could face felony assault charges. This was a significant injury, he said.

Based on information gathered during the the investigation, and the admissions by several students, Strandberg suspended 16 students Monday for their involvement in shooting items. Several more students were suspended throughout the week as more information was gathered, he said.

The suspensions were of varying degrees, he said. Those who had admitted to, or were found to have shot items at other students were suspended for 10 days. Those who shot items, but not at people were given three-day suspensions.

Several students readily admitted to shooting items, but not at people. Four students admitted to shooting the nails at other students, Strandberg said. A majority of the suspect students were freshmen, he said.

A female student reported she was hit in the leg with one of the nails, which pinned her pant leg to her leg, police said.

I dont think it was a malicious act. Its just one of those things where kids dont think about the consequences of their actions, Strandberg said.

Even after I announced the incident over the P.A. to the student body, some students were still shooting nails in the hallway, he said. They just didnt make the connection as to why this was such a big deal.

Strandberg said that most parents understood why their children were suspended, but a few told him they thought suspension was too harsh a punishment.

All of the students could have been expelled because shooting nails can be considered a weapon, he said. But I thought expulsion was too harsh in this case.