Middle school stabbing suspect, 12, appears in court - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Middle school stabbing suspect, 12, appears in court

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The 12-year-old girl accused of stabbing her classmate at Lookout Valley Middle High School appeared in court behind closed doors on Friday.

The stabbing happened during a seventh-grade math class on Thursday morning, prompting the school to go on lockdown. The boy was taken to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Hamilton County Juvenile Court Administrator Sam Mairs said state law prohibits him from commenting on the 12-year-old's case. However, court officials said one of the public's misconceptions is that it's a "court of punishment."

"We're not about punishment. We're about rehabilitation," Mairs said. "Children are not necessarily who they're going to be today, like they will be in five years."

"I know the public would love to know all kinds of things about a lot of kids that come through here, but it's protected," he said.

Channel 3 is not releasing the child's name, and juveniles' court records are protected under state law.

The girl is charged with attempted criminal homicide and bringing a weapon onto school property. It's one of the "zero tolerance" offenses in Hamilton County Schools' policies that can call for expulsion.

But in juvenile court, Mairs describes how the concept of consequences works a little differently.

"Juvenile Court was not designed, nor was it ever created to be a court of punishment," he said. "Giving out this information can stigmatize a child."

If a child can get help through some kind of rehabilitation program, that's the main goal.

"If we can turn that child around, if we can get them back into step with mainstream society... everybody wins," Mairs said.

A source in the court system confirmed that the girl has been released to her parents while she awaits future court dates.
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