Belton mo throwing missile "it is not always enforced, but it is law."
Belton mo throwing missile "it is not always enforced, but it is law." As the snow blanketing the region turned to slush, police were considering arresting a sledding scofflaw on suspicion of reckless endangerment, and school officials were on the lookout for illicit snowball tossers.
It brings up an interesting idea: snow criminalization.
In the first case, a 26-year-old Bellevue man was sledding down a hill Tuesday evening and accidentally went under a sport-utility vehicle, Bellevue police Officer Michael Chiu said. The SUV ran over his leg, and he was taken to the hospital with a possible broken bone. Police are still investigating and will forward their findings to prosecutors.
School districts are trying to avoid penalizing students by warning them in advance that snowball fights are unacceptable. In many, including Bellevue, Seattle and Everett, the activity could fall under policies regarding misconduct, or causing injury to an employee or student.
But a number of districts are more explicit, banning the fun-that-can-turn-dangerous snowball fight. In Snoqualmie Valley School District, where school grounds still had 4 inches of snow yesterday, there is a specific rule against the "picking up and making of a snowball," said Superintendent Richard McCullough. In the discipline code, it falls under the same category as throwing rocks and stones, he said.
Julie Miles has two kids at A.G. Bell Elementary in Kirkland, a school with a zero tolerance for snowballs. Students there say they were told they can't even touch the snow, much less pack and hurl it.
"I think it is really sad," Miles said. "Kids have a blast in the snow. I understand that it is a safety issue, but they could monitor them while they play. My children are from Montana; they think it is silly.
"It is really sad when rules prohibit kids from having fun."
No injuries from snowballs were reported from schools on the Eastside yesterday. Some believe that may be due to the snow days spent at home. Many campuses were closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I think the kids are kinda snowballed out," said Snoqualmie Middle School Principal Ruth Moen.
Schools in other snow-plagued areas continue to place bans on snowball fights. In Toronto, the system superintendent is strengthening a ban on the practice she considers "violent and dangerous."
In addition to schools, police sometimes consider throwing a snowball a punishable offense. A fear of lawsuits and a safety-before-fun attitude has led to many of the rules, parents and police say.
In some cities, such as Belton, Mo., it is illegal to have a snowball fight at all. It falls under the city's "throwing missiles" ordinance, said Jeremy Squires, a clerk in the Belton Police Department.
"It says no person shall throw a stone, snow or missile on public or private property," Squires said. "It is not always enforced, but it is law."
Punishment varies. In Snoqualmie schools, it ranges from a warning to expulsion depending on whom you hit, and how hard, McCullough said.
At the Bellevue Police Department, punishment ranges from a verbal admonition to a charge of reckless endangerment.
"We have arrested kids for throwing snowballs and charged them with malicious mischief or vandalism," said Bellevue Officer Chiu.
Police say a fluffy powder snowball is perfectly fine. But ice has endless criminal possibilities.
"Kids have been known to pack the snow balls with rocks or soak them in water until they freeze," Chiu said. "Throwing such projectiles can even be considered assault."
"This is all totally ridiculous," 14-year-old Bellevue High student Marisa Lindsley said of the snowball bans. "As long as you don't hit someone, it is just fun. We can't do anything anymore."
Redmond High School student Ryan Bates has served detention for throwing snowballs.
"I hit a teacher before and got in trouble," said the 16-year-old. "I think snowball fights are good and bad, good because we are just having fun, bad because people can get hurt."
The Bellevue School District does not have a specific snowball policy, but the activity can fall under exceptional misconduct, causing material disruption damage to school property or the infliction of injury on an employee or student, said Ann Oxrieder, a district spokeswoman.
In the Northshore district, there is no written policy specifically geared to throwing snowballs, said Pamela Steele, a spokeswoman.
"We would subsume snowball-related issues under the generic heading of malicious mischief," she said. "During times like this, all of our schools verbally warn students about appropriate and inappropriate behavior relative to snow."
In Seattle schools, snowball fights would fall under disruptive conduct, said spokeswoman Lynn Steinberg.