Annals of zero tolerance: in Newark, Delaware, 6-year-old Zachary Christie took “a camping utensil that can serve as a knife, fork and spoon to school. He was so excited about recently joining the Cub Scouts that he wanted to use it at lunch. School officials concluded that he had violated their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, and Zachary was suspended and now faces 45 days in the district’s reform school.” In other Delaware cases, a school district “expelled a seventh-grade girl who had used a utility knife to cut windows out of a paper house for a class project,” and “a third-grade girl was expelled for a year because her grandmother had sent a birthday cake to school, along with a knife to cut it.” [New York Times]
The policies do have their defenders: “‘There is no parent who wants to get a phone call where they hear that their child no longer has two good seeing eyes because there was a scuffle and someone pulled out a knife,’ said George Evans, the president of the Christina district’s school board. …Charles P. Ewing, a professor of law and psychology at the University at Buffalo Law School who has written about school safety issues, said he favored a strict zero-tolerance approach.” Blog reactions (some via Memeorandum): Sullum/Reason “Hit and Run”, Q and O, BoingBoing, Kate Harding/Salon “Broadsheet”, Below the Beltway, Tom Freeland/North Mississippi Commenter, Lowering the Bar.
P.S. He’s on the Today Show (via Skenazy). Scott Greenfield wants to call it a knife. After worldwide press attention and a large show of local support, the school board reversed its policy and allowed Zachary back (h/t comments). And now: “A 17-year-old Eagle Scout in upstate New York has been barred from stepping foot on school grounds for 20 days — for keeping a 2-inch pocketknife locked in a survival kit in his car.” [Fox News]