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5th grader suspended at nature camp for Swiss Army knife

Discussion in 'The OT' started by phrelin, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. Apr 28, 2013 #41 of 110
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Lets start with what happened first. The penalty in place is harsh for the item he had.

    Harsher penalties for other offenses are beside the point. You seem to want to punish a child harshly for a small offense and treat them as if they have already committed a much bigger crime.

    A comparison to adult rules is fair play ... why should we treat children worse than adults? We have an entire juvenile justice system that is designed around treating children differently - and unless they commit an adult crime and get moved into the adult justice system offenses are generally forgiven and sealed once they reach adulthood.

    A child with a small knife gets sent home ... yet an adult can give up the knife and fly that day? I suppose you have no answer as to why the child should be treated more harshly.
     
  2. Apr 28, 2013 #42 of 110
    AntAltMike

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    I don't think that there is a rule against bringing a knife to an airport. I think it is only a violation to be in possession of one when inside the airport.
     
  3. Apr 28, 2013 #43 of 110
    Stewart Vernon

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    Taken a step further... I don't even think it is a violation to have a knife inside the airport... just when you go into the secured areas... So, for example, I think you could go to an airport to pick up someone and go inside as long as you do not go into the secured passenger areas.

    I could be wrong on that last point, though... because I haven't flown in a long time... so it could be that more areas of the airport are secured than I remember... but I remember being able to wander around in sections and go into some airport stores/restaurants sometimes without entering the secured zone and having to pass through the scanners.
     
  4. Apr 28, 2013 #44 of 110
    dpeters11

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    The TSA was going to allow certain blades 2.3" and shorter, but that rule change has been delayed.
     
  5. Apr 28, 2013 #45 of 110
    sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    You keep disregarding my hypothetical ideas, but keep pushing yours. We just don't see eye to eye on what's harsh and what's not...I completely respect that. A 1 day suspension is not harsh, IMO, but expulsion is harsh. We're talking about ONE day, he's not being arrested or expelled from school. Kids need more discipline and structure than adults in order to get them ready for adulthood. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Two areas where adults are exempt from equal punishment... Tobacco and Alcohol. A 17 year old can't walk around with cigarettes or alcohol, but a 21 year old can. An 18 year old is an adult and can't have alcohol. They shouldn't be punished since a 21 year old isn't right?

    We want to think kids are innocent angels, but they're not all like that. A close friend worked at a center for bad youths under 13. The stories he had were eye opening.

    These zero tolerance rules, as dumb as many are, were designed to reduce the problem of inconsistent policy enforcement and treat offenses the same for everyone. The problem is some aren't clearly defined and not everyone is coming together to write them. Teachers, parents (PTA), principals, board members need to work together to make them.
     
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  6. Apr 28, 2013 #46 of 110
    phrelin

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    Wow. I started the thread because I am troubled by what is going on in schools today - no, not the mass violence that is splashed all over web sites and "news" shows, but the rigid rules with fixed draconian penalties.

    That's my point exactly and why I started this thread.


    I'm unsure what question to poll. Should we have a zero tolerance for the presence in a school of any pointy objects capable of being used to injure or kill someone? Here's some examples:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    IMHO the problem today is too much control by fearful people and angry people, or maybe fearful angry people. Life is risky and American kids need to develop survival skills - no, not become survivalists just learn how to, without fear or anger, creatively function in a difficult world.

    My own 10 year old granddaughter is attending a public school where the new principal last year instituted a system for calming the kids down at the end of recess. They are to kneel on the blacktop and put their hands behind their heads for several minutes. Boy did that upset her creating both fear and anger. What do you say to a 10-year-old in that situation??? "A rule is a rule, so obey all authority?"

    I'm sorry, but the new school regimentation, combined with the lack of privacy common today and the instant presence of paramilitary equipment supporting cops fully armored, it's beginning to worry me. Is the name of the game here to eliminate the ability to make independent judgements within these young people before they get to be 20 so that they become a malleable adult population?

    What if the kid just wanted to cut some cheese and salami?

    And while if he had brought the Swiss Army Tool :biggrin: to school it would be one thing to administer a one day suspension. In fact, it might even have been ok to suspend him a day from a regular school day after the trip. But that kind of adult judgement didn't occur here.

    As I said, this is weird and I knew we were headed for a world where good judgement and common sense was to be replaced with inflexibility and rigid rules. I just didn't die soon enough to avoid seeing it running rampant. I'm internally invoking Godwin's law, but it's tough.
     
  7. Apr 28, 2013 #47 of 110
    MysteryMan

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    Personally I like the concept of Zero Tolerance. What I dislike is that it's been applied in the wrong areas. Here's my take where Zero Tolerance would be better suited...... Zero Tolerance when dealing with stupidity...... Zero Tolerance when dealing with people who make mountains out of molehills......Zero Tolerance when dealing with people who over react to minor incidents......Zero Tolerance when dealing with people who lack common sense......Zero Tolerance when dealing with people who make decisions using their emotions instead of their logic.
     
  8. Apr 28, 2013 #48 of 110
    Stewart Vernon

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    But the punishment for an adult who sells alcohol to a 17 year-old is harsher than the punishment to that 17 year-old for having the alcohol, is it not?

    We generally tend to punish adults more harshly because they are expected to know better... we tend to punish children and non-adults less harshly because we often given them some benefit of the doubt due to their age and inexperience.

    I'm not saying kids are innocent of all things either... but your argument kind of doesn't make sense... you're arguing to punish a kid harshly because he might not be innocent... but don't seem to want to punish an adult more harshly than a kid for a similar offense.

    To be fair... the kid didn't break a law here... he broke a rule... which isn't quite the same... and kids <18 who are in school because it is mandatory also don't have to sign any kind of agreements or contracts to go to school, since they can't be held responsible for a legal contract at that age.

    Zero tolerance can be administered correctly and fairly without going overboard.

    A zero tolerance for knives, for example... can mean all students have to have their bags checked and go through a metal detector, and knives confiscated and returned only to their parent/guardian... then you have a talk with the parent/guardian about it. IF the same kid keeps getting caught with a knife, then you can suspend or expel after that... That's how you make a zero tolerance policy that works but still allows room for error.

    The reason James brings up the airport scenario... is that an adult that makes the same mistake gets a slap on the wrist and loses his knife... while the child loses the knife, gets the slap on the wrist, and then is sent home for the day. The adult who arguably should know better at the airport is given benefit of the doubt, while the kid is not. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you want kids to learn things that benefit them in adult life.

    A kid sees an adult do something and get explained the rules and allowed to go on his way... the kid thinks, why did I get sent home? The kid has merely learned that people bigger than you get to make the rules... some kids in this scenario might actually be more apt to return with a knife again to push the boundaries since they see unfairness in the system.
     
  9. Apr 28, 2013 #49 of 110
    sigma1914

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    I don't get why there's such opposition to acknowledging the most simple fact in this situation. The child violated a clear cut rule and was punished by the book. It maybe a stupid rule, but it's there. Follow the rules or accept the consequences.

    There's no reason for a 5th grader to have a knife on a school trip. You all can keep saying it's just a tool and safe, but those links I posted show what a SAK can do. Would something bad happen on the trip? Extremely doubtful, but why risk it?
     
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  10. Apr 28, 2013 #50 of 110
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    There are places where is zero tolerance and harsh penalties make sense.
    We just disagree on where to draw the line.
     
  11. Apr 28, 2013 #51 of 110
    trh

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    You sure about that? I can't speak for CA, but In FL it is a law.

     
  12. Apr 28, 2013 #52 of 110
    Stewart Vernon

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    I could be wrong, but I don't think a 5th grader can commit such a felony... he can't even be legally held responsible for his actions at age I don't think.
     
  13. Apr 28, 2013 #53 of 110
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    When I was 13 I was sent to the store to buy a pack of cigarettes by an adult. The clerk made the sale and I walked back to the person who wanted the cigarettes past the police station. Somehow I didn't get arrested - and my junior high vice principal got the cigarettes he wanted. Times have changed.


    There are people in this thread that do not agree with the punishment for breaking the rule. Just because it is a written rule does not make it fair. Can no one object to the rule just because it is a rule?

    How does that apply to the rest of life? DirecTV has introduced a rule where some (or many) customers must pay more for RSNs than customers in other parts of the country. Fair? It doesn't matter. Under the policy you have set forth it is a rule that must be followed and we can't complain.

    Complaining about the rules is part of life (done appropriately) ... so I hope you don't mind if some of us complain about this rule and punishment.

    That is irrelevant to your argument ... and wrong. Several people have posted reasons why a child would properly use the knife in question on a school trip. You may not agree with the reasons but there certainly are reasons to have a knife such as a Swiss Army knife.

    The irrelevant part is that you have already decreed that being against the rule is enough to inflict punishment. No one here needs to convince you of the value of such a tool. Let's rewrite the rule and say "cameras are not allowed at school functions". I'm sure you could come up with reasons why a camera should be allowed but under your "a rule is a rule" argument that too would not matter.

    Zero tolerance rules need to be rational ... especially when punishing children.
     
  14. Apr 29, 2013 #54 of 110
    sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    People can complain all they want, but it's not going to change the fact that the kid violated the rule set forth with guidelines on the punishment. Yes, rules apply to everyday life. There's rules here, and I've violated some, that we agree to and if we don't follow them we'll be punished. Technically, we don't even have free speech here, which is fine by me, because we accepted the TOS.

    I still see no reason for a kid bringing a SAK. It's a nature camp for kids, not a Survivorman episode. It's likely safe to assume there's no immediate situation where a 5th grader will save anyone with it. People can survive without a SWK. There's definitely situations where it might be a valuable tool for an adult, but I assume a camp for kids has well trained staff with access to adequate equipment.

    Let's make it close to home for a moment. Assume you're (not at anyone in particular, to everyone) a parent of a kid in a class attending a safe nature camp. There's the same zero tolerance rule about knives. A classmate either has a SAK of their own or another student has one. A kid accidentally drops it and it stabs your kids foot. Are you all going to have the same feeling against the rule? Will you not question why a 10 year old brought a knife when he's clearly not allowed to? Should it be another "teaching moment" for the kid where the knife is confiscated and the kid isn't "harshly" punished with a 1 day suspension?
     
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  15. Apr 29, 2013 #55 of 110
    Stewart Vernon

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    Some schools have rules against wearing certain t-shirts... wearing one could get you suspended... it's a rule... but I know we have argued about that on the forums before.

    The adult in the scenario should have confiscated the knife... should have contacted the parents to explain and re-iterate the rule... but sending the kid home too? Was the kid a habitual rule-breaker? Had he brought a knife before? IF so, then sending him home makes sense... but if he isn't a habitual rule-breaker and hadn't brought a knife to school before... and they found it just because they found it and not because he was waving it around in front of other kids or anything potentially dangerous... then I think some intelligence could have been applied to make him and his parents aware... to explain to all the other kids there why the knife was not permitted... but let the kid stay after taking the knife away and teaching to the moment.
     
  16. Apr 29, 2013 #56 of 110
    phrelin

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    I guess my problem is that I know how many things can effectively be used as a weapon. In the context of schools and air travel pencils and pens quickly come to mind. I guess they could all use crayons until they're in college.
     
  17. Apr 29, 2013 #57 of 110
    sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Yes, MANY things can become weapons. Ask kids the purpose of a pen or pencil, I doubt anyone says to use them to stab or cut. Then, ask about a knife.
     
  18. Apr 29, 2013 #58 of 110
    Stewart Vernon

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    Your fists can be used as weapons... so if we took it to the extreme, you couldn't allow kids in school at all ;)
     
  19. Apr 30, 2013 #59 of 110
    phrelin

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    Sure, kids will never think of a pencil being used to stab someone because that's not its purpose. :sure:


    [​IMG]

    EDIT: By the way, my wife and I own well over a hundred knives none of which was purchased as, nor are they used as, a weapon. But we do cut things with them. We also cut things with scissors, saws pruning shears, etc.
     
  20. May 1, 2013 #60 of 110
    dpeters11

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    Another recent case, a teenager put together two "household chemicals" in a bottle and ended up causing a small explosion around the same lines as a small firecracker. She has been expelled and arrested on felony charges. Was what she did a bad idea? Certainly, mixing chemicals together can have serious consequences if you don't know the result. But I hope it doesn't end up ruining her life.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57582330-71/schoolgirl-tries-science-experiment-arrested-for-felony/
     

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