A 7-year-old first-grader wielding a kitchen knife robbed a 6-year-old classmate of one dollar, police said.
The incident at Pines Lakes Elementary happened during lunchtime on Nov. 26, police spokesman Deputy Chief David Golt said.
The boys were in a bathroom when the older child held a kitchen knife to the other's nose and demanded the money, schools police operations supervisor Craig Kowalski said. The younger child complied.
His nose bled during the encounter, now classified as an armed robbery, Kowalski said. It is not yet clear whether the knife's blade drew the blood or if the victim suffered a nosebleed.
The incident is the latest example of children carrying weapons to school - and using them. On Nov. 12, 15-year-old Teah Wimberly brought a gun to Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale and fatally shot fellow student Amanda Grace Collette, also 15, police said. Wimberly is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder and discharging a weapon on school property.
The day after that shooting, a Miramar High School student selling marijuana also admitted to sneaking a gun and ammunition into the building. The next day, a third grader at Walker Elementary in Fort Lauderdale took a gun to school.
That a first-grader would pull a knife on another student is "by no means normal," said school district spokesman Keith Bromery. "This is a very unusual occurrence, to see kids that young acting out that way."
The younger boy's mother reported the incident to school officials Monday, when classes resumed after the holiday break, Bromery said. The 7-year-old told police he brought the knife from home. School district officials have suspended him for 10 days and he will be expelled, Bromery said.
In the meantime, school resource officers are interviewing the children to determine if charges are warranted, Golt said. Investigators will turn over their findings to the State Attorney's Office next week, and prosecutors will decide how to proceed.
The school district has seen a spike in the number of students caught bringing weapons to school. During the 2007-08 school year, officials seized 503 weapons from students, up from 315 the previous school year, according to statistics from the state Department of Education. From the beginning of August through Nov. 18, the Broward School District's reported weapons confiscations included three handguns, five BB guns, 10 razor blades and 53 knives.
Superintendent James Notter said he thinks what's happening in schools reflects what's happening beyond school walls, from violence in video games and on television to the nation's economic problems causing financial hardships at home.
While reports of student violence now receives more attention, such behavior is nothing new, said Frederic Reamer, a professor in the graduate school of social work at Rhode Island College. It's how schools, parents and society react to it that's evolved.
"To some extent, this stuff has always been around," he said. "I think our response has also become much quicker and more assertive."
Macollvie Jean-François can be reached at mjfrancois@SunSentinel.com or 954-385-7922.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times