Critics contend that zero-tolerance policies like those in the Christina district have led to sharp increases in suspensions and expulsions, often putting children on the streets or in other places where their behavior only worsens, and that the policies undermine the ability of school officials to use common sense in handling minor infractions.
"Something has to change," said Dodi Herbert, whose 13-year old son, Kyle, was suspended in May and ordered to attend the Christina district's reform school for 45 days after another student dropped a pocket knife in his lap. School officials declined to comment on the case for reasons of privacy.
Ms. Herbert, who said her son was a straight-A student, has since been home-schooling him instead of sending him to the reform school...
"I just think the other kids may tease me for being in trouble," he said, pausing before adding, "but I think the rules are what is wrong, not me."
(Image: Case Boy Scouts of America Caramel Jigged Bone Hobo Knife 4-1/8", Knifecenter.com; illustration only, this is not necessarily the cutlery Zach Christie got in trouble for carrying)