Laser pointer suspension reduced

Principal drops expulsion recommendation for 17-year-old sophomore, 3 friends

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – The father of a Middleburg High School student suspended for using a laser pointer at a basketball game says the principal has reduced his son's suspension from 10 days to five.

After the story aired on Channel 4 on Tuesday night, the principal received a lot of calls Wednesday morning, said Jeff Jewett, the father of 17-year-old William Jewett.

The principal reviewed the incident and reduced the suspension. He also dropped the recommendation the teen be expelled.

William Jewett, a sophomore, and three of his friends were suspended in the incident and were waiting to hear from school administrators to see if they would be expelled.

Jewett's father said Tuesday he believed his son should be punished for his bad behavior, but expulsion from school was too extreme.

"I feel a young man should be punished, but I feel this is maybe a little over the edge," he said.

Because Jewett's father is a veteran, there is money available in the G.I. Bill for his son's education. However, the family said they would lose that money if the high school student were expelled.

"It's almost tantamount to educational suicide," Jeff Jewett said.

He said Tuesday he believed school administrators were overreacting to the incident because of recent events, like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that occurred in December.

"I don't think it was that big of a deal," Jeff Jewett said. "I understand all the sensitivity with all of the incidents, but I think it's just a little bit unreasonable."

Channel 4's Scott Johnson spoke to a Clay County School District spokeswoman Tuesday, who said the issue was not as innocent as Jewett explained. She said the students' "actions stopped the entire event" and the school "had to escort them out of the facility."

Jewett's father said he still believed the school was overreacting.

"I think everyone's hypersensitive right now," he said. "I think they're really over-blowing things."