It’s a weapon, see. And schools have their famously stupid rules regarding “zero tolerance” for weapons of any kind, even eating utensils.
Now a new story, this time an Eagle Scout facing the same inquisition and suspension for having a two-inch knife his policeman-grandfather gave him and which he kept locked in a survival kit in his car.
This sterling young man, who had hoped to go to West Point now has a twenty-day suspension on his record. Fat chance he has for achieving his dream now:
Matthew Whalen, a senior at Lansingburgh Senior High School,[upstate New York] 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 policy, 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.
Here’s how the school’s search-and-destroy mission went down:
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“…they said, ‘Do you own a knife?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m a soldier and an Eagle Scout - I own a knife.’ [he completed Army basic training this past summer].
“And they were like, ‘Well, is it in your car or anything?’ And I told them, ‘Yeah, it’s in my car right now.’
“And they asked me to show it to them. I didn’t realize it was going to be a problem. I knew it wasn’t illegal - my police chief grandfather gave the knife to me.”
Whalen said he took school administrators to his car because he thought their fears would be allayed when they saw it was just a 2-inch knife.
“They thought I had a dagger in my car or something like that, so I thought yeah, I’d show it to them,” Whalen said.
“I showed it to them, and they told me I had a knife on school property and had to be suspended.”
But things didn’t end there, Whalen said.
“They brought a cop in, who told them ‘he’s not breaking any laws, so I can’t charge him with anything.’“
Whalen said he asked Macri why a 2-inch pocketknife would be considered more dangerous than other everyday items around the school.
“I said to him, ‘What about a person who has a bat, on a baseball team? That could be a weapon.’ And he said, ‘Well, it’s not the same thing.’“
No, it’s not the same thing at all. Gang bangers regularly use baseball bats in the commission of crimes, but a knife stashed in a survival kit and locked away is obviously a menace. Sorry, son, those school officials are not educated enough to make these fine distinctions.
These officious pedagogues weren’t satisfied with their pound of flesh. They wanted more. Read his description of the kangaroo court:
“They gave me the five-day suspension, because that is all a principal can suspend a student for,” he said. “And from there, they had a superintendent hearing to see if the superintendent wanted to suspend me for longer.
“But the superintendent wasn’t even at the hearing. It was the principal and the athletic director. The vice principal who originally suspended me wasn’t even there, and neither was the superintendent. They basically asked me, ‘Did you have the knife in your car?’ And I said ‘Yes, I did.’ The meeting was recorded and they told me they were going to play the tape to the superintendent.
“They asked me if I wanted to say anything, and I told them all my accomplishments and what I’ve done, and the principal even admitted that I had no intent to use the knife, that I had no accessibility to the knife.”
But school officials decided to suspend Whalen for an extra 15 days anyway, he said. And unless the decision is changed, he will not be allowed on school grounds until Oct. 21.
Whalen said he does not know why the 15 days were added, but he said a school district employee told him it was because the school wanted to apply its policies consistently.
“I’ve been told by someone who works for the district that they had to do it, because if someone else had a knife and they saw that I didn’t get a suspension, that it would look bad for the school.”
School superintendent George Goodwin and Lansingburg Senior High School Principal Angelina Bergin did not return calls for comment Tuesday morning.
You can bet these school rule fools are hiding in their bunkers.
Whalen says he’s received community support. However, words of reassurance don’t mean a thing. Unless his “supporters” are willing to go through the necessary work to put pressure on the municipality that hired this school superintendent, nothing will change. Other children will be caught in the cross hairs.
These people are scared something violent will happen in their schools someday and with their mindless ZERO TOLERANCE they are playing CYA just in case something of consequence does happen on their watch. Then they can point to their record of harassment of students and wring their hands while whingeing that they did everything they could.
It’s inescapable: zero tolerance is simply code for zero judgment. Before your kid is on the chopping block, check out his or her school’s policy book. Ask questions, make noise. Otherwise these unionized pedagogues will roll over your children with impunity… and then it will be too late to protect your family.