Six-year-old sent to reform school for bringing a "weapon" (Cub Scout camping cutlery) to school

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87 Responses to “Six-year-old sent to reform school for bringing a "weapon" (Cub Scout camping cutlery) to school”

  1. nutbastard says:

    If he wasn’t brandishing it – if he was using it as intended as an eating utensil, then there is no logical reason why he ought to be punished.

    oh, right. logical.

    zero tolerance policies are just another way to indoctrinate the youth of america into blind obedience to their holy government while providing a venue wherein the disobedient can be immediately identified and taken note of.

  2. Bumlooker says:

    I would think that setting up a free pocket knife stand outside the school should be interesting no?

  3. smegoid says:

    This is ridiculous. I remember my school offering a cheap hunting knife as one of it’s three top prizes on our school olympics day. I didn’t win it, and I forget if the winner was immediately cuffed and expelled upon accepting the prize from the principal. But all the same. That was the late 80s. Not that long ago. Where has all the brains gone?

  4. Ito Kagehisa says:

    I’ll be in the area all week, I’ll check this out, see if I can get a look at the knife in question.

    Y’all know about the cake knife incident, right?

    http://www.communitypub.com/education/x1098994143/Bill-would-alter-zero-tolerance-policy-for-knives-in-school

  5. jacord says:

    The linked NY Times article has a picture of the knife. It is similar to the BB image (fork, spoon, sharp knife).

    This is simply outrageous – no knives in school, ok, but the punishment is completely out of proportion. Where is common sense? I fear the day my kid accidentally does something apparently innocuous and gets the Full Wrath of the School Regulations brought down.

  6. danlalan says:

    I have a couple of questions for those of you who grew up going to schools with zero-tolerance policies like these, if you will indulge me. I’m having an age disconnect with this story and am curious about the effect of such policies on kids, and whether they are having a long term negative impact on society.

    Was the fact of the existence of these policies important to you? Or even in your awareness?

    Do you think they affect the way you view authority, and if so, how? How about your classmates?

  7. Debby and Greg Verheyden says:

    Please. I am a mother of two grown boys. This child probably was so excited to eat a meal with his dad during a camping trip or in preparation to a camping trip after purchasing this UTENSIL! He thought it would be fun, as a six year old boy would, to take the fork to use for his lunch to show others his new camping tool. At 6 years old, it would have been a lesson for the teacher/school board to take advantage of a lesson for this young boy to explain when this was to be used outside of school, not inside of the cafeteria at school..call the parent to pick it up, re enforce the message to the child..send him back to class and move on. What happened to making appropriate decisions at schools? This school district failed this child. This is a 6 year old not knowing what was wrong and could have been a learning experience!!!! Now, he will not see his schoolmates for 45 days, not knowing why…and experience a very negative experience “for a 6 year old” with no anger issues till now. One that will have negative results in the end.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m terrified that I’m going to end up seriously hurting some school administrator or school board member once my sons get into public schools.

    I’d like to think that I’ll be able to be calm and rational if my kids get hit with this kind of idiocy, but I don’t really suffer fools very well, so hopefully we’ll dodge the Zero Tolerance bullets, but I have a feeling I’m going to be engaged in at least a few heated shouting matches with idiot officials over an aspirin or butter knife some day.

  9. AirPillo says:

    Just an update: The school board voted to reduce the punishment for grade K-1 children who violate this rule.

    Suspension is still mandatory, which shows that they’re still either cowards or not secure in their own competence to make decisions… however, it’s only a 3-5 day suspension now.

    He can go back to school on Wednesday.

    Unfortunately, the change effected by this case is pretty weak, but at least it did cause change.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The parents of this boy seem to have done an excellent job of raising an articulate, brave little boy. The imperfect judgement of a six year old boy should not result in reform school. Have common sense and good judgment by adults gone out the window? This situation should have been handled by the principal with the parents and the boy in his office with a stern warning. I think the principal should be suspended and retrained on how to deal with young children. If the parents don’t get this turned around they should at least get the principal fired.

  11. Giovanni says:

    This isn’t surprising but it’s still sad. My nephew was suspended after he took an empty shell from his dad’s rifle and put it on a keychain on his backpack. His dad was impressed with his son’s injunuity. The teacher said it was as bad as brining a loaded gun to school.

    When I was in Highschool I remember a valedictorian eagle scout being suspended for having a broken axe in the trunk of his car (he’d taught BSA safety class the night before). I also had a friend who was expelled for his threatening mechanical pencil.

    @danlalan ZeroTolerance was a big deal when I was in school. If someone punched me in the face I would be suspended, even if I didn’t do anything to provoke the other kid and didn’t do anything to fight back. I always knew that I couldn’t ever depend on school authorities to have any kind of sense when it came to conflict.

    I was once punished for grabbing a kid and kicking him several times, never mind that he and his friends had me on the ground and were kicking me for 5 minutes before I was able to get up and try to defend myself. I told them it was defense and I was told by the school officials that defense was only blocking. I told them to try blocking five people when they’re kicking you on the ground.

    • Anonymous says:

      Giovanni, wow.. that is awful. When I was in high school, most of the boys carried knives. They used them as tools. Most had been cutting hay bales for cows prior to school anyway.

      Most of my male teachers and all of my friends took off school the first day of deer season. Some schools in the area just have a holiday on gun season kickoff.

      An Eagle Scout would have been asked to bring the Hatchet in and show proper safe handling in the classroom.

      We used real scalpels to dissect real animals in biology.

      And if someone brought a gun to school, it was probably to show it off to the administration before they all took off half a day to go hunting.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I had one of my high school kids come up to me and tell me he had just realized his pocket knife was still in his pocket. I made him wait till all the kids left class, had him hand it to me and told him I would give it back after school. I then berated him for being so trusting. Most of my colleagues would have had him expelled for a year for his forgetfulness. Sometimes the world is so completely unfair…

  13. cognitive dissonance says:

    this is even more absurd than the story a while back that a girl was suspended for having a metal knife in her lunch box to cut her sandwich (i think)and she was likewise, an unassuming straight A student, and likewise, suspended/expelled.

    a stark contrast to my uncle’s telling me that in high school they used to have .22 rifles in their locker so they could go hunting/trapping right after class.

    its sad that it takes just one incident to forever derange prevailing wisdom.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Think this kid will grow up never trusting authority? He got a lesson in how amazingly stupid and callous adults and some of their rules can be.

    Too bad there is no zero tolerance for idiotic lawmakers and school authorities.

  15. thorn says:

    the only thing i hate more than f-ing ROBOTS, is that you never know when you’re going to have to deal with one.

  16. jfrancis says:

    On my daughter’s first day at 6th grade we were informed that a squirt gun was first and foremost a gun and would be treated as one by school officials.

  17. IronEdithKidd says:

    I’m not interested in my kids learning that adults are unthinking ass coverers charged with administering Draconian punishment for any offense regardless of the severity of the perceived threat. It still amazes me that these zero-tolerance laws aren’t being challenged in court due to the lack of proportionality in the punishments.

  18. fran6co says:

    It’s great to see the school system teaching valuable life lessons to our children at such an important age. Lesson number one: rules are bad and stupid.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Stupid policies for stupid lazy people.

    A knife is a tool(just like a gun) and should be treated
    with a little care and respect. Educate not mandate.

    I have been carrying a knife everyday since I was 7. That’s about 33 years now. The only one who ever got cut with one of my knives was me. Shit does happen.

    If you need to cut something let me know….

  20. Anonymous says:

    @danlalan I went to high school for a year and 1/2 during the start of the zero tolerance policies. I was forced to leave or be sent to alternative school because I wouldn’t stop dressing in black, wearing “inappropriate” “goth looking” make-up and having been found wearing a trench coat. I got patted down nearly every day by 3 or 4 cops for having been rumored to have ” a lot of guns” and spent every day in in school suspension for for getting beaten up or saying things the staff disproved of. Oh yeah, and I was banned from making any form of art on the school premises because it scared a teacher and was supposedly “satanic”.
    Before the whole Columbine thing I was a mostly A student.

    Experiencing all that has made me into an absurdest.

    - satat

  21. Daemon says:

    Note to zero-tolerance enforcement goons:
    EVERYTHING is a weapon.

    I could bludgen a man to death with a textbook. Impale their brainstem with a pencil. Shove wads paper down their trachea… You get the idea.

  22. jfrancis says:

    I also couldn’t photograph her walking onto the schoolyard on her first day of school.

  23. jere7my says:

    Based on the NYT photo, it looks like this is the knife he took to school:

    http://www.survival-school.org/Default.aspx?tabid=246&ProductID=102

    You can see he’s working on getting out the bottle opener in the picture. jacord is correct in saying it’s “similar to the BB image,” but the blade is less wicked — by comparison with the bowl of the spoon, it looks like it’s a couple of inches shorter.

  24. LB says:

    jfrancis: I remember the administration being obsessed with zero tolerance policies when I was in elementary school (16+ years ago). Even an obvious water gun was considered an expulsion-worthy offense.

    Of course, this was also when pagers were banned for the junior high school kids, because “only doctors and drug dealers” had them. (I never, ever heard anything about them being a disruption in class.)

    In high school this was actually LESS of a problem; my high school didn’t say anything about guns or pagers. Which was sort of good, because the seniors had a tradition of playing Killer (Assassin) every June.

    One kid in my junior high did get in trouble for bringing a knife to school and the cops were called; however, it was a bowie knife so they were probably right to be concerned.

  25. insert says:

    I’m a little surprised that this kid has the intellectual development to be able to say “I broke the rules, but the rules are wrong, ergo I did not do anything wrong.” If my understanding of Kohlberg’s stages of moral development is correct, then it takes a well-developed adult to understand the idea that rules aren’t right per se.

  26. Anonymous says:

    When my son built a model of Jamestown Settlement out of Lego blocks, the teacher made him remove the two or three Lego cannons and tiny little spears the “guards” held. Good grief! What nonsense!!

  27. OoOoOo says:

    This would never happen on “Little House on the Prairie”.

  28. Ted8305 says:

    Sooner or later, some kid and family will just up and ignore their robotic kneejerk “punishment”. On day 1 of the suspension, the kid just shows up at school like usual (call the media ahead of time, just in case). If the administration tries to turn the child away, they’ll be the ones making themselves look like morons.

    Nobody deserves to be suspended or sent to reform school for carrying a pocketknife, tylenol, or the like. If some school administrator goon tried to enforce some zero tolerance BS on my kid, I’d turn it right back in their face and summarily fire them. Of course, I don’t have the authority to fire a school principal, and likewise the principal has no authority to inflict asinine punishments. Want to kick me out of school? You’ll have to catch me and drag my limp body out every damn morning of your silly suspension. Besides, a little righteous civil disobedience is good for kids. It could even been a great way for kids to bond with their hippy baby boomer grandparents.

  29. Anonymous says:

    This simply reinforces my conviction that any fool demanding they have their way “for the children” or “to protect the children” should be arrested for child abuse.

  30. Heartfruit says:

    It has been my observation that anytime choice is taken out the hands of those tasked with assigning punishment, whether that is in the form of school zero tolerance schemes or minimum sentences in court cases, that these sorts of injustices occur. I believe that the idea thata that the school is forced to do something when a knife or other potential weapon is brought into the building is not necessarily a flawed policy. But the administrators need flexibility to ensure the punishment fits the crime.

  31. Anonymous says:

    To punish someone who does not think they have done something wrong creates many more problems than it solves. To the victim, the punishment is official abuse. The victim rationalizes the abuse by becoming distrustful of society, thereby becoming anti-authoritarian and possibly anti-social.

  32. digger628 says:

    So if I want to bring an assault rifle to an Obama rally that’s OK, but if I bring a pocketknife to school I get suspended? Please explain.

  33. Tracey Woods says:

    My stomach has just been sick about this because of what it says about our country and what is happening to create this nation of ‘policies.’ Policies are nameless and faceless they see no person. We have to be allowed to see a person its not all black and white, it’s about intent and there is a learning curve for our little ones. They don’t know or understand the evil that has created these ‘policies’ and they just need a little discussion on how it’s a rule and it’s for safety and now they know and they are on their way, we all move on.
    I get sick when I think of what ‘reform school’ would have done to this child, possible irreversible damage to a little boy who’s only crime was showing pride in his cub scout gear!! HOW dare he!! it’s sickening!!

  34. Ted8305 says:

    Just had another thought–do these zero tolerance policies apply to the faculty and administration too? Plant forbidden objects on the jerkwad administrators, wait till they’re on school property, and call the police.

    “I’m sorry, but ignorance of that fact that you had a knife duct taped to the bumper of your car is no excuse. You are fired.”

  35. Sukima says:

    I’m 30 Years Old and attempted to buy one of these at Wal*Mart. They had to get two managers verify I was over 18 before I could buy it! Cutlery is a scary and serious problem in this world and the very idea that you can put then together instead of as separate devices is even worse! Ban cutlery! It’s teh devil.

  36. Halloween Jack says:

    The flip side of this is to imagine how you’d change this policy. Since you’re in Britain, Cory, you might look into whatever the English equivalent of a parent-teacher association is and try standing up at one of those and speak against someone who’s hysterical about the latest Daily Mail report on knife crime and wants anything with an edge or a point banned from schools on pain of death. Video would be appreciated.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I asked for my first knife when I was 3 but my dad said I couldn’t have one until was 5. On my 5th birthday we went to the hardware store and bought a Barlow knife. Every kid should have a pocket knife.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Thank God he didn’t bring a spork to school!

  39. Paul Coleman says:

    Argh!! This kind of thing drives me nuts. I agree that keeping weapons out of school is a good idea, but 45 days in reform school??? If you’re going to do mandatory punishments start small and make it progressive based on offenses. For a knife, confiscate it and hand out a short suspension at the most. I’m reasonably sure that a 1st grader would get the message with that. Common sense.

  40. Papa Ray says:

    This is just one example of idioticy in America’s public schools. I’m sure you can read dozens each day across the Nation.

    Did you know that we now pay students that have been skipping or have dropped out of school to go back to school? Yes, a check every two weeks, and it is not a small check.

    Did you know that students can get away with back talking, threatening and dissing the teachers because they have free speech rights?

    Did you know that in many cases where parent notification or involvement is needed for a student, the school can’t locate or communicate with the parent.

    I could go on about how the teacher’s union has hogtied and blackmailed school districts, teachers and parents, but have to get my grand kids ready for school. OH…great, just remembered today is a holiday.

    Lucky them.

  41. Pipenta says:

    Airpillo, you pegged it when you said: The entire point of the idea was trying to stonewall litigation and protect individuals’ careers from the repercussions of making bad decisions.

    “Screw your kids, I have a career to worry about.”

    What the hell are the schools succeeding at these days? It sure ain’t this and it sure ain’t teaching.

  42. Moriarty says:

    Is it really fair to blame them for enforcing a mandatory policy? As the kid succinctly put it, it’s the rule that’s wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes it is correct to blame them for enforcing the rule. You may have anti-spitting-on-sidewalks laws in your town. The police do not enforce every single infraction they see, do they? Why wouldn’t a principal / superintendent have latitude to do the same when a teacher notifies them of an infraction? It’s fine for the teacher to say something, b/c the principal/super is handing out the actual punishment, and therefore should also be able to say ‘that is foolish, no punishment’.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes… it is wrong. They have the choice of following a rule that makes no sense, or to do the right thing. I realize that could get them in trouble, but I’n not sending a 6 yr old to reform school. Give him a good talking to, for a 1st offense, and the punishment grow if there are subsequent offenses. He’s 6!!! He probably didn’t even know he was doing anything wrong! COMMON SENSE PEOPLE! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY???

  43. WalterBillington says:

    SOMG. Someone take a lawsuit against these cheesedicks for ultra vires application or something. Unbelievable.

    I’m sooo glad I live in the UK. Mind you – my kids don’t take knives to school. They take pint glasses.

  44. Purly says:

    Yeah Newark! Teach those kids that it’s the rules are wrong, not them. Who needs rules anyways? Down with the law.

  45. Little John says:

    Somewhat apart from the questions of what a kid may possess on campus and how to appropriately react when it’s something else:

    When did the Boy Scouts start taking six-year-old (or younger?) boys?

    Back in my day, we had to be at least eight. Had to leave our pet saber-toothed tiger at home, too.

  46. aixwiz says:

    Well, it is well known that spoons, forks and knives can be deadly weapons. Especially the spoon as it always goes for the heart first.

    NOT!

    Part of being a Scout is to learn the proper way to handle knives and other sharp objects properly (swords and other edged weapons not included). That training does NOT include using them on people.

    I wonder if the same thing would happen if someone brought a plastic set of utensils to that school?

    • Anonymous says:

      You could view this as “cub scout cutlery” or you could see it for what it really is; a cannibal’s toolbox. This kid could not only kill a classmate or teacher, but also carve them up and eat them like a civilized cannibal. And that’s just disgusting. The kid should have gotten a lot more time for all the other things he could have done with the tool, not just the 45 days for what they thought he could have done with the knife.

  47. pinehead says:

    Maybe it’s my inner conspiracy theorist, but I wonder if the recent idiocy in public schools isn’t a subtly-planned transition. There has been much lobbying in recent years to make charter schools more common across the US, and I hear that attendance at private schools has been dropping lately, thanks to our economic situation.

    So by making public schools more and more repulsive, they make those schools into a last resort. This would open up the market need for charter schools, as well as bring those private school attendance numbers back up.

    Like I said, it sounds a little paranoid, but the way these things go sometimes, it seems like a possibility.

  48. Ethan says:

    Did you know that we now pay students that have been skipping or have dropped out of school to go back to school? Yes, a check every two weeks, and it is not a small check.

    Do you actually believe this, or do you realize you’re giving misleading (at best) information? Yes, there has been a couple of experimental pilot programs that have tried this approach. But that hardly equates with it being a standard procedure across the U.S.

  49. danlalan says:

    Has there been a big rash of elementary school stabbings that I’ve missed?

    Maybe it is the intent of folks implementing policies like these that children grow up with a contempt for the law.

    After all, if six year olds are being presented with rules that they know are stupid, that all of the adults they know think are stupid, and which somehow never get changed, perhaps the intent is to demonstrate to them that many of the rules of life are stupid and arbitrary. Not an entirely unreasonable life lesson.

    Or perhaps this is all one very large Kafka-esque performance piece.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I have a 8 year old son who loves knifes. He knowns better than to take a knife to school. But come on they are treating this kid worse than they do murderers. This would make me sooo freaking mad if they did this to my son if he accidently brought it to school. I mean if the kid is a danger and had been in to alot of meaness all the time ok then deal with it like that but come on hes a little feller with a hobby of knives. My son would sleep with them if he could but I see no harm in this. But hey lets make an example out of him and treat him bad, yeah lets do!@!! The world is so messed up!!!!!!

  51. Anonymous says:

    This story made http://detentionslip.org ! Check it out for all the crazy headlines from our schools.

  52. lyd says:

    That knife looks pretty sharp. Cory notes that the picture does not necessarily represent what the kid had, and to be sure I have never *seen* cub scout utensils like those pictured before. Mine were like this.

    http://www.drexelantiques.com/after4250/4339bsautensils.jpg

    The knife was just a table knife, no point and no real edge to speak of.

    This whole thing is lame no matter what, but how much more so if the kid had something like that rather than like what is pictured with the post?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, as a former cub scout (and Eagle scout) this is exactly what I was thinking of–the combo with the little slot where they all latch together. That knife is anything but sharp. Kids in cub scouts in my area weren’t allowed to carry any knives with an actual blade–you had to be a Boy Scout (6th grade and up, so roughly 12 years old) to use a pocket knife.

  53. clickmichelle says:

    A similar thing happened to my son. He’s 10. He took a mess kit utensil set to school. We live in a fairly rural area outside of Atlanta, and fortunately was “only” punished with in-school suspension for one day. In my opinion, zero-tolerance policies just mean that school administrators are not able to demonstrate wisdom or reasoning to our kids.

    I blogged it: http://food.clickmichelle.com/2009/08/felony-weapons-in-your-camping-gear/

  54. AirPillo says:

    The point of zero-tolerance policies was absolutely never even about children. The people behind them didn’t give a damn about children.

    The entire point of the idea was trying to stonewall litigation and protect individuals’ careers from the repercussions of making bad decisions.

    “Screw your kids, I have a career to worry about.”

  55. Blaine says:

    I’ve been convinced for years that “Zero Tolerance” is just a euphemism for “Zero Thinking”.

    Stories like this makes me happy because they make me think I’m clever and sad because they make me think I’m correct.

  56. Anonymous says:

    It’s time for the school administrators to take responsibility instead of hiding behind policy. What are we teaching our kids? “Oh well, that’s the rules. I can’t help you?” Sad, sad, sad.

    As authority figures and persons holding positions of leadership, we need to demonstrate the ability to decide on a case-by-case basis while using common sense. It’s clear that no one did here. Look at the intent of the person bringing the item into the school. Of course there will be argument about the intent and that’s where the person in charge needs to stand up and use their authority and position to make a command decision. Why are schools always the exception? Everyday persons in healthcare face making such decisions in a split second and must live by their decisions. Why are our school administrators (who by the way are very highly paid and educated) unable to do the same? The adults in these positions need to set a good example. Many other adults in many other career fields certainly have the ability and practice it!

  57. fnc says:

    Interesting thing about kids, they’re learning all the time.

    Scary think about kids, they’re not necessarily learning the things outlined in your lesson plan as a result of that lesson.

    Most likely end result of this incident, one more future far right nut yelling at an elected official at a town hall meeting.

  58. Anonymous says:

    The anal retentive and over bearing control freak obsessibe attitudes of many in the social services areas such as schools, child protection and other areas where those with serious mental issues seem to congregate is getting scary. When you take this innocent almost cute situation and turn it into a juevenile hall offense where you scar a young child for life because you think your the saviour of the world and you want your 15 minutes of look at me save the world fame its time for you to step down and find another line of work. The need to satisfy your serious sense of worthlessness by putting this child in a mentally critical situation is way out of line. I hope the parents and others sue you to the point that you lose your jobs. What a joe you are.

  59. StDoodle says:

    I find it helpful to remember that semantically, ‘zero-tolerance’ is just a PC-BS way of saying ‘intolerance.’

  60. Anonymous says:

    as ridiculous as this seems, the alternative is worse. the outrage here is that a cute white kid did this. and everyone here is sure he should not get punished for breaking a rule. imagine a six year old black kid in newark, nj with a cub scout pocket knife in his pocket. automatic suspension. no outrage from the blogs, no save-our-son website. zero tolerance policies are mindless and blind, but at least they are fair.

    • AirPillo says:

      Fair to the people enforcing them, maybe. They can hide behind the wall of nonsense logic that as long as they mistreat everyone equally, they’re being “fair”.

      Being equally unfair to everyone does not equal being fair. If the result of the rules is abusing everyone equally in some misguided attempt at the “justice is blind” mantra then I have to say that they’re probably a lot more concerned with how people will judge them for their actions than they are about how effective their actions are.

      This isn’t supposed to be about how the public reacts, it’s supposed to be about how to best serve the interests of each and every individual child. Giving every child an equal chance to be steamrolled by the institution that is meant to assist and prepare them is an abject failure to live up to their duty.

  61. Blue says:

    I agree with the two posts above. Zero Tolerance = Zero Judgement. Matters in life aren’t black and white.

    The people who instigate and propose Zero-Tolerance policies want a world where thought is unnecessary, where a set of rules (and exceptionally simplistic and inflexible ones at that) replace discretion and good judgement. It’s the tool of sadistic authoritarians who care nothing for the injustice that will inevitably result and which comes a distant last (if even a consideration) to their own slavering desires to mete out punishment.

  62. Anonymous says:

    “I’m terrified that I’m going to end up seriously hurting some school administrator or school board member once my sons get into public schools.”

    That is part of the attitude that makes these rules a necessity in this day, according to my good friend that is an public elementary school principal. That, and the litigious nature of Americans.

    Her day is short – too short to get everything accomplished, so taking time out to argue with some parent over the definition of a knife is a distraction and it detracts from the actual positive contributions she is trying to make on a daily basis. The parents get a handbook with these rules before the start of the school year, so if your kid’s sandwich needs to be cut, then do it at home, or pay up and send your kid to the private school (maybe they will let kids carry knives there).

    And god forbid that someone someday does wind up injured from some kid’s smuggled knife, then watch out. Schools are broke enough without some parent seeing dollar signs when their kid gets hurt for whatever friggin reason at the school. Why do you think school playgrounds are so lame now?

    That being said, I wholeheartedly disagree with the over-the-top punishment in this case. I think the discretion in these cases should be on the severity of the punishment (maybe confiscate until year end?) rather than a wholesale dismissal of the written rules (a.k.a. zero tolerance).

    • AirPillo says:

      Your reasons sound convincing, they make this sound like a good idea… until people actually remember that the problems you listed have been solved by passing the buck onto the children.

      Regardless of the justification, the solution needs to be about the best interests of the children. That’s the entire point of the education system. When our schools start viewing children as a political resource or a patsy for their own failings, somebody needs to go on a spree of job terminations.

      This whole situation arose from a belief, intentional or incidental, that school administrators need more protection than children do. It’s completely insane and we cannot be apologists for something so damned backwards.

  63. willhopkins says:

    Why is it that every time Delaware makes it onto the front page of the Times it’s for something incredibly stupid? No wonder my friends mock me.

  64. Lobster says:

    I can see why people are outraged, but that thing IS a knife, and that kid IS six years old. His being a scout doesn’t suddenly make him super-qualified to carry a knife, even one with a fork and spoon attached. I agree that our culture is way over-sensitive about this kind of thing (I’ve carried a leatherman ever since 5th grade) but it’s not like we had this highly trained angel who was thrown in prison for carrying a butterknife.

    And StDoodle, “intolerance” isn’t always a bad thing. It’s not like this is a form of racism.

  65. demidan says:

    @ Papa Ray

    Sorry threatening teachers is not protected speech.

    Loook out, that boy has a Pen! he’ll kill us all!

  66. Anonymous says:

    This is taking things just too far! Meanwhile, how many kids have been allowed in school with switchblades – REAL WEAPONS – and not been caught? This totally ridiculous; there should be some room for discretion. This was obviously NOT a weapon! How stupid are we becoming in this country?

  67. demidan says:

    What do a pencil, a credit card, a drinking straw, and a newspaper have in common? Each of these items can be used as a weapon to kill or seriously injure someone. So what do we do about that? Should we make everyone use crayons to write with and take away their straws?

  68. Anonymous says:

    I do think it’s a bit over reacting that they would send a 6 year old to reform school, however if the Picture reflects what it really does look like the school is within all of it’s rights on protecting the students. The Knife in the picture is a pocket knife, and is not allowed in schools, and granted the child is only 6, the parents should have known better than to allow him to carry it to school with him. Had it been only a fork and spoon, it would not have been so bad, but with the knife on there I can understand where they need to enforce the rules. I don’t think he should be sent to reform school for such a small mistake, proper school detention/suspension would be fine but the school must do what the guidelines say. Next time he might just want to take his little badge. :)

  69. lyd says:

    Without going too far off the ideological deep end, I think we should be careful when say things along the lines of “the educational system is all about what’s best for the children”.

    Plug in “law enforcement” for “educational” and “people” for “children” in any of these sorts of statements and see if they still work for you.

    The educational system has as its first priority insuring the well-being of the state through the crafting of manageable, productive citizens. That may or may not result in “what’s best for the children” as you or I might define it.

    Most often, it mostly does, but I think this is one of those “map is not the territory” things”; we want to avoid making the assumption.

    • AirPillo says:

      That’s probably an important point to make. The education system isn’t strictly and purely about the child’s best interests in every case. There are exceptions, some of which are necessary.

      Still, though, I’m sure we could both agree that it’s wrong to deliberately and knowingly sacrifice the well-being of taxpayer’s children to protect the best interests of government employees. A principal can get a new career, a child cannot get a new childhood.

      These policies are a form of cruel tenure, built on the backs of children. To spare the administrator when they fail at their responsibilities, a student is screwed out of the treatment they deserve.

      I also strongly agree that putting people doing such irresponsible decision-making in a role-model position for children is abundantly unhealthy. Should these people to whom children are exposed frequently and taught to look up to be leading kids to believe that positions of responsibility are all about mechanically following rules, completely oblivious to their repercussions. completely devoid of critical human thought? We want to raise leaders and confident thinkers, not a crop of crappy, subservient computers who don’t expect to do anything but follow easy rules.

      • lyd says:

        You and I could both agree that it’s wrong to deliberately and knowingly sacrifice the well-being of taxpayer’s children to protect the best interests of government employees, but the sorts of folks who conceive of and support these policies may not. They also may not agree that protecting the employees is the focus of these policies. I think they might explain, were you to get them talking, that it is all about Law and Order.

        From their point of view a message of, “the rules must be obeyed absolutely and completely” may be more valuable than one of rational, ad-hoc problem-solving. “Ignorance is no excuse” and “there will be no exceptions” are likewise stressed. Most of all, the message that we, who are mere cogs in the machine, should never expect to have direct contact with anyone capable of making an interpretive decision regarding the Rules comes through loud and clear.

        I am in total agreement with how you think it should be, AirPillo, but I guess I have become exceptionally cynical about the chances of making it that way.

  70. COD says:

    I agree with all those ridiculing zero-tolerance policies. However, even the Cub Scouts don’t give knives to six year olds. IIRC from my son’s time in Cub Scouts a few years ago, the earliest you can earn the badge for knife safety is age 8 or 9.

  71. ispinyarns says:

    “I can see why people are outraged, but that thing IS a knife, and that kid IS six years old. His being a scout doesn’t suddenly make him super-qualified to carry a knife, even one with a fork and spoon attached. I agree that our culture is way over-sensitive about this kind of thing (I’ve carried a leatherman ever since 5th grade) but it’s not like we had this highly trained angel who was thrown in prison for carrying a butterknife.”

    I agree with Lobster. I would want to know more about what kind of blade he had before jumping to conclusions, and I would want to know if the boy was told WHY the rule existed and WHY knives are dangerous. Small children do not do abstract reasoning well; that part of their brain is still developing.

  72. Anonymous says:

    This child should not be sent to reform school. Recognition of each case is indicated.

  73. mdh says:

    Back in grade school another kid put a ‘boner’ on a classroom skeleton and blamed me. He wrecked it in the process. I got suspended for a week and the skeleton that had been there for 20 years was removed from the classroom forever.

    douchebags who game the rules start young. that should be the focus of zero tolerance.

  74. Anonymous says:

    If this was a Cub Scout knife he took with him, he’s not supposed to even be carrying it. If he hasn’t earned his Whittlin’ Chip, and can’t, until he’s a Bear (3rd Grade) and that only permits him to carry a Scout knife to Scout events, where it’s appropriate.

    So his being a Scout isn’t a justification, no matter what.

    I had a Scout cutlery set as a youth, as well, but the knife was a butter knife, not for cutting meat. That’s what your Scout knife would be for.

  75. Merlin Silk says:

    Again, one of the things that I love, where the tyrants shoot themselves in the foot and eventually get themselves out of the business of raping people. As the pendulum swings to one side, when it comes back the opposite side will get more pronounced as well and there are some great sources for that to be found in the vast reaches of the internet just found the “School Sucks” podcast which I haven’t gotten into much yet, but it’s very promising, so I thought I better share that here – http://www.edu-lu-tion.com/school_sucks_episodes

  76. O_M says:

    Is it really fair to blame them for enforcing a mandatory policy?

    …Well, yeah, it is. I mean, seriously, if that sort of thinking made sense, sonny, there’d been a lot more not guilty verdicts at Nuremberg. Just because a stupid law is the law doesn’t automatically justify it. Stupid laws are meant to be broken, and those who enforce them are meant to be broken beyond repair. As others have noted, this is just one case amongst thousands per day. Zero Tolerance policies *never* work because the more intolerant the policy, the greater the odds are that an exception will show up and kick you in the balls approaches One.

    This particular school board is about to find that out the hard way…

  77. Anonymous says:

    So the kid brought what was most likely a butter knife to school. This punishment is absurd. This just goes to show the state of fear that we are currently living in. Yes, there is a need for child security but now when a kid does something wrong, teachers and parents send them to therapists and in this case reform school. Soon there going to ban anything that could be used as a weapon in the most perverted sense.

  78. Anonymous says:

    The policy is not flawed, but I can’t say the same for the administration. It would appear they lack judgement, common sense, and most of all understanding to be able to perform in an education environment. That alone would dictate that the school administration be removed as their storm trooper tactics are the last thing we need in school. I understand safety, I do not understand stupidity. Maybe the administration should be sent to prision for a few days education. Moron’s..

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