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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web:

From our archives, 100 years ago

A 13-year-old boy was in severe trouble after he placed a wire spindle – a metal spike – on an 8-year-old classmate’s chair while she was standing and reciting.

When she sat down, the pain was “so excruciating it caused her to swoon.” She recovered without lasting damage, but the boy was suspended and hauled into juvenile court because authorities were “inclined to think there was an element of viciousness” in the deed.

The boy trotted out a novel excuse in front of the juvenile court judge. He said he was imitating Bedini, a vaudeville performer who had recently caused a sensation in Spokane by using a fork to catch a turnip thrown from the top of a building. The boy said he was showing off with the spindle when the teacher showed up. He hurriedly placed it on the chair to hide it.

This excuse was undercut by the fact that the girl had discovered the spindle on her chair once before. That time, she had seen it and removed it.

The boy was expelled from school and was placed on strict probation.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1862: President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. … 2007: In the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history, student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.