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Girls in playground attack may face expulsion

A school superintendent in Pennsylvania is recommending the board expel two girls accused of brutally attacking a 10-year-old  on an elementary school playground.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The city's school superintendent is recommending the board expel two girls accused of brutally attacking a 10-year-old girl on an elementary school playground.

Superintendent Jim Barker said he wants to ensure that the two girls, ages 10 and 11, do not attend classes with the girl who suffered a broken hip in the April 3 attack.

School board president Jim Herdzik said he favors expulsion.

"We have to be harsh," Herdzik said. "They have to learn. Ten-or 11- or 12-year-olds should know the difference between right and wrong."

The attack did not occur during school hours, but district officials will consider that it happened on school property in reviewing possible expulsions, Baker said. The board's next meeting is scheduled for May 14.

If the girls are expelled, they still would be entitled to an education in the Erie School District by attending a charter school or alternative education programs.

The girls face aggravated assault and other charges. If they are found delinquent — the juvenile equivalent of a guilty verdict — they could be confined in a juvenile detention center or otherwise be kept under court supervision until they turn 21.

The girls' lawyers say their clients are too emotionally immature to comprehend the criminal charges and are seeking to have the charges dismissed.