Fourth-grader suspended for packing broken pencil sharpener

More zero tolerance crap from a small-town grammar school. In short, the kid’s pencil sharpener broke and since he needed to sharpen his pencil, he sharpened his pencil. The result: a 10-year-old gets up to two days suspension for using the sharp “razor-like” piece of the broken sharpener to – get this – sharpen his pencil.

I give the kid points for getting the job done even when the tools he needed broke down. Improvise, adapt and overcome – this kid should look into an early enlistment program with the United States Marines.

Breaking news at The State (in South Carolina).

Boy suspended for using broken pencil sharpener
HILTON HEAD ISLAND — A 10-year-old boy here has been suspended from school for having something most students carry in their supply boxes: a pencil sharpener.

The problem was his sharpener had broken, but he decided to use it anyway.

A teacher at Hilton Head Island International Baccalaureate Elementary School noticed the boy had what appeared to be a small razor blade during class on Tuesday, according to a Beaufort County sheriff’s report.

It was obvious that the blade was the metal insert commonly found in a child’s small, plastic pencil sharpener, the deputy noted.

The boy — a fourth-grader described as a well-behaved and good student — cried during the meeting with his mom, the deputy and the school’s assistant principal.

He had no criminal intent in having the blade at school, the sheriff’s report stated, but was suspended for at least two days and could face further disciplinary action.

District spokesman Randy Wall said school administrators are stuck in the precarious position between the district’s zero tolerance policy against having weapons at school and common sense.

“We’re always going to do something to make sure the child understands the seriousness of having something that could potentially harm another student, but we’re going to be reasonable,” he said.

Can this be any more wrong?

So when the China-made piece of plastic broke during class, what is the kid supposed to do? If he tells the teacher about it, he gets suspended. If he doesn’t tell the teacher about it, uses it and gets caught, he gets suspended. If he doesn’t tell the teacher about it, hides it or throws it away and gets caught, he gets suspended.

Hence the problem with zero tolerance policies. They suck.

Parents should sue the system not for cash, but for two days of private tutoring to make up for the time lost during the suspension. Then demand all records about the situation are destroyed. Then demand that the zero tolerance crap stops.

These policies do nothing except freak the kids out.

2 replies
  1. Gene
    Gene says:

    From Merriam-Webster online dictionary:

    Main Entry: weap·on Pronunciation: ?we-p?n Function: noun Etymology: Middle English wepen, from Old English wæ?pen; akin to Old High German w?ffan weapon, Old Norse v?pn Date: before 12th century
    1: something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy
    2: a means of contending against another

    I guess the school has to add a third definition:

    3. something broken that used to sharpen a pencil


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