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A 6-Year-Old Threat?

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Six-year-old Zachary Christie faces 45 days in his district's reform school after bringing in a Cub Scout's camping utensil that can serve as a knife, fork, and spoon to school, the New York Times reports.

Knives are banned "regardless of possessor's intent" in the zero-tolerance weapons policy of the Christina School District in Delaware, where Zachary attends 1st grade. Citing the zero-tolerance policy, school administrators suspended Zachary, a new Cub Scout who was excited to use the camping tool at lunch.

"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. Following Zachary's suspension, Christie is home-schooling him while she fights his reform-school sentence. She started a Web site to generate support for Zachary, saying, "He is not some sort of threat to his classmates."

The president of the district's school board does appear to be open to the possibility of reducing Zachary's sentence.

"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 board's president, before adding that he would be open to potentially adjusting the zero-tolerance rules for younger students such as Zachary.

As for Zachary? While he awaits his schooling fate, he seems concerned with his classmates' potential reaction to his knife-related blunder.

"I just think the other kids may tease me for being in trouble," Zachary said, "but I think the rules are what is wrong, not me."

4 Comments

You've got to be kidding! While I don't know the whole story, and have my information from the short article above, the fact that a very conscientious (according to mom) child who brings a Cub Scout camping utensil to elementary school shoud be talked to, not sent to reform school. While we need to take the bringing of weapons to school (or elsewhere) very seriously, we -schools- must look at each situation and assess accordingly.

Did anyone ask why the child brought this to school? Was it part of a show-and-tell lesson? Was it to prove that he's "one of the guys"? Was it to show off? Is this child really a threat - to himself or others? ?These are questions that should be addressed before a decision is made.

And, yes, as a parent I would be distraught and furious if my child came home seriously injured due to a "scuffle" that eventually ended with weapons being drawn and used. Does this happen more often when children get older? How many issues with weapons are documented by children the age of six? And if they do occur, do they occur at school?

The zero-policy policies in place in schools need to be looked at and possibly revised to determine if this threat really pertains to children under a certain age.

While I agree with Lisa (above), I feel strongly that zero tolerance policies need to be abolished. They have replaced the responsibility of administrators to consider circumstances, such as an excellent 6-year-old student being proud of being a Cub Scout. Randy Cassingham has an excellent treatment of ZT that should be required reading of all school board members: http://www.thisistrue.com/zt.html

While, I do not know the whole story either. Parents have to be responsible for their children. Couldn't Mom, Dad or another adult have come into the school and asked the teacher if the child could show his Cub Scout patch or other items vs a knife to the class at a "show and tell"?

Another story about an administration gone mad -- what a way to nip that enthusiasm for school -- and life -- in the bud. Way to go. It's clear test scores aren't the only problem with education.

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  • Debbie: Another story about an administration gone mad -- what a read more
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