scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: School policies
Judy Yeager (jscout@HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 17 2000 - 22:43:35 CST
Kelly Parker wrote, in part, "So, when Scouters visit their local board
meetings, I would ask them to lobby for policies that are flexible enough to
allow for differentiation between a pocketknife and a switchblade. No matter
how big the district, each case should be reviewed on it's own merits."
I have been following this thread and reading both sides of this issue and
am still unable to justify such stringent policies as we see with most zero
Five years ago, my son was a senior in high school. One of his classmates
was a young man that any parent would be bustin' their buttons over. We
have know this young man and his family since he was a toddler and I don't
know of a finer family. Matt is an Eagle Scout, was an honor student,
active in many school activities, particularly the band, held down a job and
was still active with his Troop. About a month before graduation, he
dressed for school one morning and, out of habit, dropped his Swiss Army
knife in his pocket. Sometime during the school day, he realized that he
was carrying a "tool" in his pocket, which the school considered a "weapon."
Somehow, a female classmate found out about it and headed right for the
office. Matt was called to the office and, when asked about the knife, he
admitted that he had it, explained that he just wasn't thinking clearly when
he dropped it in his pocket that morning, explained that the knife hadn't
been out of his pocket on school grounds and apologized for the error.
What were the consequences? He was immediately expelled from school for the
remainder of the year and told that he was not to set foot on school
property for the remainder of the year. He was further told that he was
banned from the Prom and Graduation--that when all the other students had
left for the summer, he could come and take finals and, if he passed, they
would mail his diploma to him. Now I ask you, did the punishment fit the
His parents appealed the decision and were invited to a "hearing" with the
school board. They were told by one of the board members that, "We don't
want people like your son in our schools." The only concession that was
made was that he was allowed to participate in Graduation ceremonies. I
have never been so happy to see someone in a cap and gown in my life!!!!
That same year, my younger son was in 6th grade and his teacher carried a
Swiss Army knife, identical to Matt's, in a sheath on his belt. He would
take the knife out during class to clean his fingernails. Several Scouts in
his class, my son included, asked why he could carry his "weapon" to school
and they couldn't. The answer? "They trust me and they don't trust you."
And where is Matt today? He is proudly serving his country as a member of
the U. S. Navy.
Needless to say, it would be VERY (emphasis) easy for me to get out my
soapbox, but suffice it to say that I will join those of you who have
expressed opinions against zero tolerance.
. . .and a good ole' Bobwhite and Antelope, too. . .
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