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Virginia student suspended for turning in boxcutter welcomed back to class

'We don't want things to change just for our daughter. We want it to change for everybody else's kids, too.'
Brianna Dobbins
Posted at 1:43 PM, Nov 03, 2022

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A Virginia high school student is back in class, days after she said her school punished her for turning in a boxcutter another student gave to her.

Woodside High School junior Brianna Dobbins said she has been on a roller coaster of emotions. A normal school day started with a ride on the bus to school and ended with a five-day suspension after she turned in the boxcutter last Thursday.

After the story aired on WTKR last week, the school system cleared Brianna Dobbins’ record, solving a problem that could have affected her future.

Her father, Chris Dobbins, said it was a difficult experience for the family.

"Seeing my daughter in a state like that just filled me with a whole flood of emotions," Dobbins said. "I was sad for her then I was angry and then I wanted to do anything to cheer her up."

Aside from being absent during finals week, the Dobbins family worried that this smear on Brianna's record would prevent her from getting into the Aviation Academy and becoming the youngest fighter pilot in history.

"When I did my discovery flight, I absolutely loved it," she said. "Ever since then, I knew that piloting is what I want to do."

Brianna Dobbins
Brianna Dobbins

Shortly after the story aired, Brianna's dad got a call from the superintendent's office. He was told that Brianna's actions did fit the student code of conduct. The family said the school's principal and assistant principal would also have some remedial coaching in reference to the incident.

But Dobbins thinks some of the school district's rules may need to be revised.

"I think that maybe quite a few rules need to change because who knows what other type of rule there is that could affect someone in the same fashion," Dobbins said.

Brianna, who was was welcomed back to school Tuesday, said returning to class has taken such a weight off her shoulders, aside from the responsibility of her schoolwork.

Her family said this bad experience has brought them closer. While a wrongful suspension might have steered others away from doing the right thing in the future, the Dobbins said, not them.

"We don't want things to change just for our daughter. We want it to change for everybody else's kids, too," Dobbins said.

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