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Laser pointers could violate safe school policy
by Cody Smith, reporter
May 25, 2016 | 1116 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CEDAR CITY – A Cedar Middle School student’s mother wrote a letter to the Iron County School Board asking for laser pointers to be classified as weapons.

Amy Bates said her son came home a few weeks ago complaining of a black spot obstructing his vision. She took him to Southern Utah Vision Care for an eye exam. The doctor reportedly told Bates her son’s retina had been burned and the damage might be permanent.

“My son was assaulted at Cedar Middle School with a class 3b laser light,” Bates wrote. “This incident has quite possibly left him with permanent vision damage … I have become shocked by the danger and ease of accessibility.”

Bates said when the school found the child responsible, he or she had removed the danger sticker from the laser.

“A quick search of similar lights on the internet,” Bates wrote, “shows that it was most likely a level 3b, which are considered quite dangerous.”

According to www.Stanford.edu, if the beam or reflection is viewed directly, class 3b lasers can cause severe eye injuries.

Bates asked the ICSB to consider removing “these dangerous weapons” from the nuisance category and replace them in the weapon sections.

“I was especially alarmed,” Bates wrote, “to know that a child can buy a weapon of this magnitude on the internet for $7 without needing parental permission.

Becki Bronson and other members of the board addressed Bates’ concerns during the May 17 ICSB work meeting.

“Everyone at the meeting was surprised and concerned by the amount of damage even a small laser light can do to the eye,” Bronson said.

The ICSB reviewed the Safe School Policy to determine the best course of action. As of now, Bronson said, the ICSB is determining the plausibility of designating laser lights as a weapon.

“What has to be determined, though, are the logistics of doing that,” Bronson said. “If a student brings one to school, what course of action is taken? Are all laser lights banned, or can they be used in a school presentation? How is this policy enforced?”

The ICSB will review possible policy changes during the June 21 ICSB work meeting.

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