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Oct. 12) -- Zachary Christie, 6, was happy about joining the Cub Scouts and was excited about a new camping utensil that functions as a spoon, fork and knife -- so excited that he took the tool to school to use it at lunch.

But the Newark, Del., boy's enthusiasm got him kicked out of school for violating a zero-tolerance policy on weapons,

The first-grader faces 45 days in reform school after officials determined the camping utensil violated the Christina School District's ban on knives.

His mother is home-schooling him while his family appeals the punishment.

"It just seems unfair," Zachary told The Times.


Some people say school officials should be able to exercise discretion in such cases, but others argue that zero-tolerance policies are necessary to prevent discrimination.

Delaware lawmakers gave school officials more flexibility on weapons last year after a third-grader was kicked out of school for a year because her grandmother sent her to class with a birthday cake and a knife to cut it.

But the change dealt only with expulsions, not suspensions like Zachary's.

"We didn't want our son becoming the poster child for this, but this is out of control," Debbie Christie told The Times.

The Christina school board president defended Zachary's suspension but said the rules may need to be changed for younger children.
 

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Zero Tolerance equals ZERO common sense.

Its all part of the weenification of America.

Any teacher that falls for that line of bull aint fit to teach.
 

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Honestly I think there are times when the students are smarter than the teachers and the administrators put together.

A Boy Scout camping utensil?
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
 

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Sucks for the kid, he did nothing wrong and he is being punished. I hope his parents and community rally around the school district meetings and get them to lessen the 45 days down to 0!

Unfortunately this school district has it in their Code of Conduct in Black & White:

Dangerous Instrument(s) Possession/Concealment/Sale: Regardless of
possessor’s intent, any unauthorized possession/ concealment/sale of
an instrument, article or substance which is readily capable of causing
serious physical injury or death. If the full blade of a knife is less than
three inches, the item will be considered a dangerous instrument.
I think this is a lesson to Parents out their who need to be responsible for children too young to know policies like these. The parents should have known the code, and made sure he didn't take the boy scout tool to school.

The same falls to parents who give Advil to their kids to take in their backpack. It isn't the kids fault that he violated the Zero Tolerance Drug Policy, it is the Parent's.

Is the school Policy ridiculous in that it is Zero Tolerance, and their is no room for leniency as in this case, Absolutely Yes.

Was this Policy made available to Parents ahead of time, and are the administrators following through with well establish rules, Absolutely Yes.

Keep your finger's crossed that school administrators may (but doubtful) make a rare exception in this case and let this kid off light. Let's hope this kid bounces back and this doesn't bother him anymore than I am sure that it already has.
 

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It's the difference between tools and weapons.

It's the difference between common sense and stupidity.

One would think it should come down to threats made, or nothing of the sort. One would think. If one could think, or was allowed to think, that is.

"Weenie-fication" is it, exactly.

The 11th Commandment (America): Thou shalt not think.

It's becoming more true every day that they're allowed to get away with it.
 

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I just saw this on the news. It's sad the school board won't evaluate the situation instead they just fall back on "zero tolerance". but we all know that if this was a teacher's kid or a school board's kid it would be a different story.
 

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...zero-tolerance policies are necessary to prevent discrimination.
Let me rephrase that: ...zero-tolerance policies are necessary to continue nurturing WIDESPREAD STUPIDITY!!

:aargh4::aargh4::aargh4::aargh4::aargh4::aargh4:
 

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This is what happens when the NEA zealots are allowed to take over. Too bad there isn't zero tolerance for stupid teachers and administrators.
 

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By IAN URBINA
Published: October 11, 2009

NEWARK, Del. — Finding character witnesses when you are 6 years old is not easy. But there was Zachary Christie last week at a school disciplinary committee hearing with his karate instructor and his mother’s fiancé by his side to vouch for him.
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Zachary’s offense? Taking 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.

“It just seems unfair,” Zachary said, pausing as he practiced writing lower-case letters with his mother, who is home-schooling him while the family tries to overturn his punishment.

Spurred in part by the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings, many school districts around the country adopted zero-tolerance policies on the possession of weapons on school grounds. More recently, there has been growing debate over whether the policies have gone too far.

But, based on the code of conduct for the Christina School District, where Zachary is a first grader, school officials had no choice. They had to suspend him because, “regardless of possessor’s intent,” knives are banned.

But the question on the minds of residents here is: Why do school officials not have more discretion in such cases?

“Zachary wears a suit and tie some days to school by his own choice because he takes school so seriously,” said Debbie Christie, Zachary’s mother, who started a Web site, helpzachary.com, in hopes of recruiting supporters to pressure the local school board at its next open meeting on Tuesday. “He is not some sort of threat to his classmates.”

Still, some school administrators argue that it is difficult to distinguish innocent pranks and mistakes from more serious threats, and that the policies must be strict to protect students.

“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. He defended the decision, but added that the board might adjust the rules when it comes to younger children like Zachary.

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.

For Delaware, Zachary’s case is especially frustrating because last year state lawmakers tried to make disciplinary rules more flexible by giving local boards authority to, “on a case-by-case basis, modify the terms of the expulsion.”

The law was introduced after 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. The teacher called the principal — but not before using the knife to cut and serve the cake.

In Zachary’s case, the state’s new law did not help because it mentions only expulsion and does not explicitly address suspensions. A revised law is being drafted to include suspensions.

“We didn’t want our son becoming the poster child for this,” Ms. Christie said, “but this is out of control.”

In a letter to the district’s disciplinary committee, State Representative Teresa L. Schooley, Democrat of Newark, wrote, “I am asking each of you to consider the situation, get all the facts, find out about Zach and his family and then act with common sense for the well-being of this child.”

Education experts say that zero-tolerance policies initially allowed authorities more leeway in punishing students, but were applied in a discriminatory fashion. Many studies indicate that African-Americans were several times more likely to be suspended or expelled than other students for the same offenses.

“The result of those studies is that more school districts have removed discretion in applying the disciplinary policies to avoid criticism of being biased,” said Ronnie Casella, an associate professor of education at Central Connecticut State University who has written about school violence. He added that there is no evidence that zero-tolerance policies make schools safer.

Other school districts are also trying to address problems they say have stemmed in part from overly strict zero-tolerance policies.

In Baltimore, around 10,000 students, about 12 percent of the city’s enrollment, were suspended during the 2006-7 school year, mostly for disruption and insubordination, according to a report by the Open Society Institute-Baltimore. School officials there are rewriting the disciplinary code, to route students to counseling rather than suspension.

In Milwaukee, where school officials reported that 40 percent of ninth graders had been suspended at least once in the 2006-7 school year, the superintendent has encouraged teachers not to overreact to student misconduct.

“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.

The Christina school district attracted similar controversy in 2007 when it expelled a seventh-grade girl who had used a utility knife to cut windows out of a paper house for a class project.

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.

“There are still serious threats every day in schools,” Dr. Ewing said, adding that giving school officials discretion holds the potential for discrimination and requires the kind of threat assessments that only law enforcement is equipped to make.

In the 2005-6 school year, 86 percent of public schools reported at least one violent crime, theft or other crime, according to the most recent federal survey.

And yet, federal studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and another by the Department of Justice show that the rate of school-related homicides and nonfatal violence has fallen over most of the past decade.

Educational experts say the decline is less a result of zero-tolerance policies than of other programs like peer mediation, student support groups and adult mentorships, as well as an overall decrease in all forms of crime.

For Zachary, it is not school violence that has left him reluctant to return to classes.

“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.”
 

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“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. He defended the decision, but added that the board might adjust the rules when it comes to younger children like Zachary.

Wait, wait, wait........
"child no longer has two good seeing eyes because there was a scuffle and".........

someone pulled out a, ..........I dunno; pen, pencil, crayon, marker, paintbrush, stick, rock, etc, etc,

George Evans, the president of the Christina district’s school board needs to asked about his teachers providing all these eye pokey-outty thingies that are mentioned above to these children.
or, he's just a pencil-pushing beauracrat(sp?), afraid to force someone above him to look at a simple situation and apply simple, common sense.

dan
 

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“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. He defended the decision, but added that the board might adjust the rules when it comes to younger children like Zachary.

Wait, wait, wait........
"child no longer has two good seeing eyes because there was a scuffle and".........

someone pulled out a, ..........I dunno; pen, pencil, crayon, marker, paintbrush, stick, rock, etc, etc,

George Evans, the president of the Christina district’s school board needs to asked about his teachers providing all these eye pokey-outty thingies that are mentioned above to these children.
or, he's just a pencil-pushing beauracrat(sp?), afraid to force someone above him to look at a simple situation and apply simple, common sense.

dan
My daughter and her husband are both school psychologists, primarily dealing with elementary and middle schoolers. They say that stabbings with pencils are not-uncommon occurrences and far outnumber any form of edged weapon.
 

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My brother was stabbed with a pencil and you can still see the lead/graphite under his skin. It's like a tiny tattoo.

I sent the following to the school district today:
"Good afternoon,

I just read an article stating that your school district has suspended and sent to reform school a 6 year old for bringing his eating utensil from cub scouts to school. Surely this can't be true, and your school district really didn't send a 6 year old to reform school for bringing his own spoon knife and fork to school.

If it is, unfortunately, true then I'd like to suggest that the school district reconsider it's tortured interpretations of school "safety" and not send a 6 year old to a reformatory environment for something so painfully silly.

(edited out this paragraph to avoid violating DC's no politics rule.)

Personally, I hope this young man ends up in a proper private school that nurtures the community involvement and dedication to education that his young mind has demonstrated and that his experience in your Orwellian institution will lead him to serve his community by encouraging private education, paid for by vouchers of course."
 

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Let me rephrase that: ...zero-tolerance policies are necessary to continue nurturing WIDESPREAD STUPIDITY!!

:aargh4::aargh4::aargh4::aargh4::aargh4::aargh4:
Zero tolerance leads to zero thinking. the decisions are already made for the admins and no thinking is required. The kid took an eating utensil to school for lunch. This world is going you know where in a hand basket.
 

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For some reason this story reminds me of about 5 years ago when I was fixing copy machines for a living. I had a machine to fix in the city jail. I handed the front desk guard my bag as I walked through the metal detector. The guard asks "Is there anything in your bag that could be used as a weapon or are you carrying any chemicals?" I said "Yes, just about everything in the bag could be used as a weapon and there are 4 bottles of different chemicals in there" He said "Well, I can't allow you to enter with the bag" I said "Ok, I can't fix your copy machine" I then grabbed my bag and walked out the door.
 

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You can't really fairly blame the administration for this sort of thing; frankly, I don't blame them. Sure, your kids might be little angels and you fully trust them with a pocket knife (or multi-tool) at school. Do you trust the other little kids, or their parents?? I sure as hell don't. Not all kids are angels, and I think that bad blood is bred early...

I remember being 6 and 7, and I also remember a kid a few years older than me named Steven that use to chase me home from the bus stop threatening to pound my head in; surely if he could out run me he'd have tried his damnedest. This kid was seriously messed up in the head. I would be terrified of the thought of this guy carrying a pencil, but I'm glad that he wasn't exactly an "A" student. I am terrified by the thought of that guy's children; hopefully he's incapable of reproduction.

It's unfair to one kid who meant well because he's a good kid and he's getting a month and a half out of class, and I think the punishment is a bit extreme for a kid. It's not like he lugged in a freaking Ka-Bar with the word "DEATH" scratched into the blade's tenifer coat.

The school should reconsider their position, but I think that the mother should also consider alternative educational resources, if possible. But this policy is pretty much standard at any school, public or private, in every state.
 

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"Weenie-fication" is it, exactly.
Does anybody have a set of beans to go under the weenie-fication. No Franks, No Beans. No Thoughts, No Freedoms.

Why can't kids be kids. I would understand if the kid was a troubled kid and brought in a dagger,sword,boxcutter. But a spoon,fork and knive that is used for camping thru the Boy scouts. Come on people :aargh4: Where is the malce or intent?

If this was my kid I would be in front of the school board, superintentant of school and if need be in front of a judge in the court house doing what ever was needed to that they would let me kid back in school just to get rid of the father.
 

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2nd day of kindergarten for my son and we get a call from the vice principal. He informs us that our son said to another kid “I’m going to kill your dad with my dad’s knife.” The kid went home and told their parent who came in to the school and raised a stink. The VP pulled our son out and talked to him etc until he cried and didn’t want to go back to school for a couple weeks. Our son said the kid was pushing him around and that he didn’t say that. I’m sure the truth is somewhere in the middle. Anyway, the teacher now really likes our son and says he’s a great student (he’s a terror at home) even after his rocky start.
The first to report something is always right even if the facts don’t support it. The school never did talk to the other kid and try to find out what really happened.
Not a lot of common sense at the education level.
 
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