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Probe: June 21, 2002

June 21, 2002

QUESTION: My son was suspended from Wilson Junior High School for three days in November when he took a key chain and a small laser light to school. His mother bought the set at a 99cent store. The light was about an inch and a half long.

Today, I got a letter from the Imperial County Probation Office that my son, accompanied by a parent, must appear in traffic court June 26.

My son is 13 years old. He doesn't drive, have a car or a license. The letter says failing to appear at the hearing could result in a $250 fine. What is going on? — Confused Dad, El Centro

Your son is the victim of inept, well-intentioned and over-reacting adults. The boy's mother probably didn't know, but it's against the law (sec. 417.25 of the state penal code) to point or "scope" a laser light in various locations. Among those locations are schools.

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The boy likely didn't know about the law either but he must have known it was against school rules. The rule was announced the first two weeks of school, according to Diana Rooney, a Wilson assistant principal.

The rule was implemented after a student suffered an eye injury the year before when he suffered a laser light hit.

Your son's teacher said the boy aimed the light at his eye, and he insisted on calling the campus cop and "pressing charges."

So why did it take eight months to schedule a hearing? Pam Littrell of the county Probation Office said the plan was to handle the charges informally through the "peer court."

When that fell through, the case was diverted to traffic court where some minor non-traffic hearings are held. Call Littrell at 339-6235. She can talk more freely with you than us — and you might work something out.

MEXICALI BOOZE RUN — OK, we know you can only bring back one carton of American cigarettes bought at the duty-free store in Calexico. How much alcohol can you bring? — Border Crosser, El Centro

You can bring one liter of wine or hard liquor or a six-pack of beer.

A TEEN MOM — I would like to respond to those people who didn't want the pregnant girls going to DeAnza Junior High School.

I was on the honor roll and seven months pregnant when I finished eighth grade. I never saw a pregnant girl at DeAnza but I got pregnant. I don't think I was a bad influence on anybody.

When I got my diploma at Calexico High School last year, my grade-point average was 3.82.

I will complete my associate's degree in one year (at the end of summer school). Next fall, I will go for my bachelor's degree at the University of Colorado. My daughter's father and I are getting married.

I faced some negative attitude at DeAnza. My favorite teacher would not look at me after I got pregnant. I don't think any of my friends envied me. I didn't go to dances and I missed the parties like quinceaneras.

I don't want my daughter to pay for my mistake. I hope those young girls realize that just because you get pregnant doesn't mean you have to stop having a future. — Teen Mom, Calexico

You put that very well. It nails down the truth that hiding skeletons in closets makes them scarier than they have to be.

Ever since Eve, young girls have been getting pregnant. And for at least that long, old women have been counting on fingers and whispering behind their hands.

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