Skip to comments.Boy with knife shouldn't be expelled, examiner says
Posted on 04/09/2002 9:11:56 AM PDT by Darkshadow
Madison - A sixth-grader who brought a table knife to school to dissect an onion in science class does not deserve to be expelled, a hearing examiner ruled Monday.
Christian Schmidt, 12, was suspended on March 11 and was recommended for expulsion by Cherokee Middle School Principal Karen Seno because he did not have permission to bring the serrated knife to school.
After listening to witnesses for the district and the youngster's parents for 31/2 hours, hearing examiner Norma Briggs recommended that the Madison Metropolitan School District needed to apply "an ounce of common sense" to its zero-tolerance policy aimed at keeping weapons out of school.
"Here's a child who has done well in school, who is compliant, smart, and if we haven't gotten the message to him with a 15-day suspension, then we need our heads examined," Briggs said.
Christian said he brought the knife to school on March 11 for a presentation he and some of his science classmates were doing on onions. He said he wanted to cut apart the onion to show its many layers and how it smelled.
His teacher did not tell him to bring a knife, and his parents did not know he had taken one, he said.
The district's policy since the mid-1990s classifies even a penknife as a weapon and says the principal must expel a student who brings a weapon to school. Under the policy, administrators then recommend expulsion if it is in the best interests of the district and then a fact-finding hearing is held before an independent examiner, who makes a recommendation to the School Board. The board is expected to act on this case on May 6.
In asking the board to accept her recommendation, Briggs said expulsion would be "overkill" because the boy brought the knife as a tool for a science project.
During the hearing, Christian, described by a former teacher as a straight-A student, testified that he was aware of the district's weapons policy but did not think he was doing anything wrong.
The boy told reporters that he "wouldn't do it again." He also said he looked forward to returning to school today.
Here's what I mentioned in my post:
"Hearing examiner Norma Briggs recommended that the Madison Metropolitan School District needed to apply "an ounce of common sense" to its zero-tolerance policy!"
This in the People's Republic of Madistan, the Berkeley of the mid-west!
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