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I'm surprised (although not that much) that the teacher and the union are willing to escalate what is a cliched prank (a student putting a tack on the teachers chair) to a criminal offense. Now this might be a sign of a zero tolerance policy, but it seems to me that the school district has a lot to lose in this situation as well.
Technically speaking, it is assault.
He could be tried in juvenile court for assault, and ultimately would probably be forced to do some community service (probably not have to go to juvenile detention, but that is possible).
Now if I were you (or his mother) I would contact the school principal and the school district and see if there's some sort of administrative penalty that could be worked out (such as detention, etc...)
Let them know that if the teacher presses charges, that you'll have to get an attorney and go to the press, as this action would be an outrageous overreaction.
Yes, his actions were a lapse of judgment, and there needs to be punishment, but the punishment should fit the crime. There's absolutely no need to file criminal charges for what is nothing more than a classic, cliched student prank. (this is what you can argue).
Going to the press crossed my mind, but I think responding with something that may seem like a threat would cause them to take the issue further.
It is possible that the threat could take it further. But often in these situations, the teacher, school district, etc... would want to keep their names out of the paper. If they're going to be pressing charges anyway, there's really nothing to lose
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