Zero tolerance crap continues at high school – lunch box mix up leads to expulsion (Update)

Even though the report states principals are supposed to consider the “true intent” of the student involved, they seem to have completely ignored the guideline. Teachers found a paring knife in the lunch box of 17 year old Ashley Smithwick’s lunch box at Southern Lee High School in Sanford, N.C. They expelled her. (See the update below.)

Don’t fall for the ‘suspension’ word in the articles you read. Smithwick – a senior – was flat out expelled from the high school for inadvertently bringing her dad’s lunch box to school instead of her own. She is no longer able to set foot on campus.

She was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of a weapon on school grounds for goodness sakes. From WRAL.com, with my changes and emphasis in bold.

Smithwick said personnel found the knife while searching the belongings of several students, possibly looking for drugs.

“She got pulled into it. She doesn’t have to be a bad person to be searched,” Smithwick’s father, Joe Smithwick, said.

The lunchbox really belonged to Joe Smithwick, who packs a paring knife to slice his apple. He and his daughter have matching lunchboxes.

“It’s just an honest mistake. That was supposed to be my lunch because it was a whole apple,” he said.

Ashley Smithwick said she had never gotten in trouble before and was surprised when the principal opened her lunchbox and found the knife.

The teen was initially given a 10-day suspension, then received notice that she was suspended expelled the rest of the school year.

What exactly are we teaching our elementary, middle and high school kids when we treat them this way?

Unfortunately, the ‘incident’ happened in October, right when colleges are accepting and considering applications for the fall 2011 semester. Hopefully, this incident will not cause an issue for Smithwick, but knowing the education establishment stupidity …

Smithwick is currently finishing up her high school courses online.

These zero tolerance rules have been implemented supposedly to ‘make kids safe’ but they really exist – as far as I’m concerned – to make the lives of teachers and administrators easier so they don’t actually have to think for themselves when it comes to situations like this.

Big Government picked up on the story this afternoon.

Update: Thanks to AP at Hot Air, I’m reading that the school is refuting claims by Smithwick. So, let’s see what happens next.

Lee County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss said in a statement on Wednesday that the 3-inch-long knife was found in the teen’s purse, not her lunchbox. The search was conducted on Oct. 20 after a faculty member at the school discovered a student on campus with marijuana.

Moss also denied Smithwick’s claim that she was issued a long-term suspension over the incident.

“She is currently enrolled as a student at the school,” Moss said.

8 replies
  1. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    North Carolina? Say it ain't so. This sounds more like the True Blue Northeast. One more state where we can't move. Can't these administrators profile? Does any administrator use COMMON Sense? Do they even know what it is? I hope a conservative college will see this and give her a scholarship.

  2. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    When authority uses tactics like this we have no real leaders, just oppressors.

    Compliance due to fear will only embolden thugs like this.

  3. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    It is important for schools to have Zero Common Sense discipline policies so that teachers and administrators don't have to use critical thinking skills to make decisions and can devote more time to complaining about everything.

  4. TomL
    TomL says:

    How about if they searched all teachers and administrators, searched their pocketbooks, keychains, desks and cars don't you think you would find a nailfile, screwdriver or something that could be used as a weapon. Then fire all of them.

  5. JollyRoger
    JollyRoger says:

    Just wait until the bureaucratic MORONS start regulating & punishing talk radio!!! Jim won't even be allowed to use his crazy laughter anymore!

    We need zero tolerance drug testing for politicians, zero tolerance for ethics and conflicts of interest, we need our political classes invested in a blind trust that earns no more than the bottom 50% of the market… If any politician turns 10K into 100K in the cattle futures market, the excesses should go toward paying off pork spending…

  6. BEA
    BEA says:

    Our legal system is a joke…this girl gets expelled (for the rest of the school year), arrested, and charged with a misdemeanor for an apple cutting paring knife that wasn't even hers!!

    Hey, I wonder if anyone has thought to use this zero tolerance attitude when it comes to crazy, psycho psychiatrists spouting radical Islam while serving in the US military, or I don't know…how about when people break into our country illegally?

    This reminds me of the bumper sticker I saw today…"I love my country, it's my government that I'm afraid of!"

  7. SoundOffSister
    SoundOffSister says:

    Gee, I thought we paid teachers to actually teach.  While the achievement level of our children is plumeting, it seems more important to school administrators to search lunch boxes, or purses, or whatever. 

    How many more administrators will we need to add from the ranks of the really good teachers to fulfill this "invaluable" function.   And, at what cost to the students and the taxayers?

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