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Zero Tolerance Sends 6 Year-Old To Reform School For Carrying Cub Scout Accessory

by @ 2:40 pm on October 12, 2009. Filed under Dumbasses, In The News, Legal


A six year old boy who brought a Cub Scout eating utensil to school for lunch is facing 45 days in reform school:

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.

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.

This is yet another example of the zero tolerance policies that school’s have established not just for weapons (or, in this case, psuedo-weapons) but also for perfectly legal drugs like advil. There’s no sanity to it at all. Should the kid be punished for bringing something that could hurt someone, or himself, to school ? Yes, but there’s no logic in sending him to reform school for a month and a half like he’s some kind of criminal.

As usual, the law is an ass.

10 Responses to “Zero Tolerance Sends 6 Year-Old To Reform School For Carrying Cub Scout Accessory”

  1. James Young says:

    “Zero tolerance” is “zero thought.” Any school administrator who proposes it should accompany it with his or her resignation, as it is readily apparent that he or she can be replaced by a computer.

  2. Henry Baum says:

    You know, I’m a liberal who thinks liberals believe in free speech (your tagline), but this enforcement is incredibly stupid.

  3. Little Zachary could do a lot more harm with a swift kick to the kneecap than he’ll ever do with his Cub Scout eating utensil. But, of course, in order to do any harm with either his foot or his knife, he’d have to intend violence. Somehow, I doubt he’ll do that.

    Laws should be about criminal actions, not tool possession. But good luck in convincing a hoplophobe of that.

  4. Chris Bowen says:

    Hey, there’s a benefit to this: we have a Libertarian in the making!

  5. Chaos Motor says:

    “Should the kid be punished for bringing something that could hurt someone, or himself, to school ? Yes”

    Wrong. No, he shouldn’t be punished one bit. We cannot punish our assumptions of intention (which there obviously wasn’t), we can only punish once harm has been committed. Until he harms someone willfully with his tool, he has every right to it.

    The scissors they provide in art class, and the knives in the cafeteria, are both more threatening than a 2 inch dull child’s pocket knife.

  6. [...] “Hit and Run”, Q and O, BoingBoing, Kate Harding/Salon “Broadsheet”, Below the Beltway, Tom Freeland/North Mississippi Commenter, Lowering the [...]

  7. niki says:

    this is the example of executing the regulation/rules without wisdom.
    people were driven by the rule, not vice versa. that’s good, but people are not robot. wisdom should drive the rule.

  8. Walt Goshert says:

    “Zero-tolerance” sure sounds tough, but when put to the test, what does it really prevent?

    We know what it reveals.

    One more reason for school vouchers.

  9. Schools are supposed to teach critical thinking skills.

    Zero tolerance policies are designed to remove thought from action.

    The two should never meet.

  10. Let's Be Free says:

    Little did I know that the 25-years I carried around a swiss army knife with its handy scissors, screw driver, corkscrew, emery board, tweezers, toothpick, saw blade, knife blade, can opener, bottle opener and awl that I was a criminal in the making. Over the years I was able to help hundreds of people with these little gadgets.

    This illustrates why we are home schooling our kids. We want them to learn how to think things through rather than become reflexive, non-contextual regurgitators.

    The way the public schools are being run we might as well buy all the kids little red kerchiefs and sign them up for the Young Pioneers.

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