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The latest idiocy by overly zealous school administrators

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Yes, 6-year-old Zachary was excited about his "camping tool." More than a spork as someone mentioned here, it did include a knife.


What Zachary didn't know was that his parents should have told him not to take it to school. His parents should have known the school policies.


Overkill on Zachary's punishment? Probably. But, until all the folks here and elsewhere that are upset over this stand up and petition their local school boards to change the zero tolerance policies, the policy against knives et al. is the policy and applies to all.

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Yah, let's raise our hands if we think there weren't already knives in da school cafeteria. I assume the boys and girls don't all eat with their fingers, eh?


From da news descriptions, I think this was the offending implement: http://lightmyfireusa.com/spork.html . Somehow, I reckon a cafeteria knife or fork is likely to be more dangerous.


mmhardy, the powers of a local school board are defined (and limited by) state school law and regulation. And in a more limited way by federal law and regulation. The amount of discretion given to local boards varies a lot by state. But I can assure you, there is such a thing as "school law." In fact, there are whole legal firms that specialize in it. ;)


Of course, there is no law that school board members can't be stupid. Doesn't mean that we shouldn't expect paid, professional, certified school administrators not to be stupid.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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THere is, indeed, "school law" or "education law." Ask anybody who works in school settings and they'll tell you all about it.


Common sense is sometimes lacking. Parents need to know that they should stand up for their kids when common sense unexpectedly vanishes. Some of the idiotic things my child has been told, warned about, or threatened with in a school setting would just make you choke. I've had my share of meetings with principals and others that begin with "Do you mean to tell me that it is really the school's policy to..." and went on from there. Sometimes it is actually kind of fun to see the squirming that occurs when administrators are confronted with idiotic decisions made by their underlings.


My take on most school issues is that the kids whose parents don't know how to advocate for them, or whose parents aren't involved enough to care, are the kids who get shafted by "the system."



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Let's not be too critical of school boards or administrators. We have these "stupid" rules as a direct result of "stupid" parents and "stupid" public that demand their kids be protected from other kids that attack with weapons, and demand there be no exceptions that let an attacker off free, to be given "another chance". WE set this in motion. WE did. WE did nothing to stop it.

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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 school district board's president.

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Let's not be too critical of school boards or administrators. We have these "stupid" rules as a direct result of "stupid" parents and "stupid" public that demand their kids be protected from other kids that attack with weapons, and demand there be no exceptions that let an attacker off free, to be given "another chance". WE set this in motion. WE did. WE did nothing to stop it.


Good point to a point. We asked the administrators & school boards to protect our kids while they are in their care. We thought they had some common sense but sadly we were mistaken. Zero tolerance is not a common sense answer. It's the easy way out.

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Well OK:


First, it was a knife. It may have a spoon and fork also, but from the photos on the news it is a knife with a real blade. Everyone knows you do not carry a knife to school. It is appropriate for the school to ban such things and enforce their policies.


Now, does the punishment fit the crime? 40odd days in reform school? For a first grader, it seems reasonable for the teacher to take the item away and send it home with a note to the parents. At worst, maybe keep the lad after school for a day.


The real issue here seems to me that the district admits their policy does not differentiate between high schoolers and first graders. For professional educators, that is at best sloppy policy writing and at worst stupidity. They do not trust their principals to deal differently with a first grader with his cub scout multitool and a high school senior with a switchblade.


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Day 2 from Foxnews


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.





Matthew Whalen, a senior at Lansingburgh Senior High School, says he follows the Boy Scout motto and is always prepared, stocking his car with a sleeping bag, water, a ready-to-eat meal and the knife, which was given to him by his grandfather, a police chief in a nearby town.


But Lansingburgh High has a zero-tolerance and when school officials discovered that Whalen kept his knife locked in his car, he says, they suspended him for five days and then tacked on an additional 15 after a hearing.





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Back in the Dark Ages, when I was at school in that distant land across the sea.

The what would be called a High School over here in th USA, still had corporal punishment.

For minor sins you could get whacked by the House Master, for bigger sins the whacking was done by the Senior Master and for really big sins the Head Master took on the role of whacker.

Gym Masters were known to whack using an old tennis shoe, this was known as being "Slippered". Being whacked by a Master was known as caning.

I was lucky to go all through school with only ever getting caught one time. I cut a music class to go to the local fish and chip shop. It was my luck that was a day when the music master called off sick and my House Master took over.

Other than the slippering all other whacking were done with two members of staff present and it was recorded in some sort of a log book.

To be very honest my whacking wasn't really much of a whacking. I went in the House Masters office, he asked me if I'd cut class. I had no choice but to admit it, after all it was a fair cop. He asked me if I was unwell? I thought about telling a big fat lie, but didn't really have the guts.

I bent over and he tapped me on the behind with a stick.

When it was done, he asked me if I was OK? I said that I was and then I was on my way. The entire thing was forgotten about until the end of term when I brought my report card home and my parents seen that I had been whacked.

The nuns at Holy Cross School were also known to do more than their fair share of whacking.

We as kids accepted that being caught doing something wrong meant that we had to face the consequences for what we had done.

At that time the consequence was that you got whacked.

I'm not in any way for inflicting pain on anyone especially young children.

When OJ was in First Grade, he had a nun for a teacher. This woman was a real pain. Every night she would phone me and tell me about what sins OJ had done that day. One day he managed to kick his shoe off and it went flying through an open window, another day he left a wad of gum in the drinking fountain. Night after night she would spend at least 45 minutes telling me all about what he'd done.

In the end I got a little upset. To be honest I never really worked out how to tell a nun to go and pound salt! (Maybe I was scared that she might whack me?) In an effort to stop the nightly calls, I explained to her that we had a problem.

The problem being that she was seeing OJ as a child of God and I as his father knew that he was a little devil.

Once I explained that the calls stopped.


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Now the case of the Eagle scout in NY is more troubling to me.


In that case, If I read the story right, the 2-inch knife was in his locked car and in a survival kit which included MREs and shelter. He had no ready access to it. It was on school property only technically. He disclosed it only when asked by a vice-principal if he even owned a knife.


Further, the school policy bans weapons, but apparently they do not consider baseball bats and tire irons (the latter probably in every car in the lot) to be weapons. A school administrator, asked about the bats, said thats different. Personally, I am a lot more afraid of a baseball bat or tire iron than a 2 inch knife.


Lastly, the school officials in this case had discretion, but decided to tack on an additional 15 day suspension even though no zero tolerance policy required them to.


I keep a multi-tool which has a knife blade in my car. When I park it in the long-term lot at the airport, would someone say I am bringing a weapon IN an airport? I suppose they would if someone wanted to make trouble for me or make some officious point.


The real lesson my sons (all in their teens or twenties) take from all this is that some school administrators have no sense.


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Again, what Frank said: We are the school districts. WE elect the Boards, the Boards give guidance to the professional staff (and receive recommendations from them).


Boards of Education are not Scouting, where the professionals have more power than the volunteers. It's the other way around. Volunteers, sitting Boards of Education, can hire and fire.


If you don't like what's going on, run for your School Board and be part of the solution.

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"Lansingburgh Central School District Superintendent George J. Goodwin, 55, said in a written statement that his district "has an established policy of zero tolerance with respect to the possession of weapons of any kind on school property or in school buildings."


But nowhere in the school district's rule book, which is published online, is there any mention of a "zero tolerance" policy, leading some to question whether Goodwin, in fact, was compelled to suspend the youth."




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