When I was a kid…probably 3rd or 4th grade…I thought it was so cool when I got a pocketknife for Christmas. I dutifully took it to school every day because you never know when you might need a good pocketknife. I even sharpened it to the point that it would cut paper. Well, the truth is that there really wasn’t any time that you need a pocketknife at school. So, it didn’t take long for me to stop taking it with me. I took it on Boy Scout camping trips after I graduated from Cub Scouts and Webelos but never really had much use for it there either. And when I did, I didn’t want to use it because I didn’t want to dull the super-sharp blade. So, basically, it was useless to me. But it was still cool to have.
That was then and this is now. A kid in Delaware sounds like he was a lot like me. He is only six but got a little Cub Scout pocketknife. His was different than mine because he had eating utensils as part of his. Like me, he wanted to take it to school but he wanted to use it. So, he sat at lunch, apparently not bothering anyone, and opened it up to use to eat. A 6-year-old doesn’t know about zero tolerance policies. He only knows that his knife with the fork and spoon is cool. But, Zachary Christie now faces 45 days in a reform school for violating the Christina School District’s zero-tolerance policy of kids bringing knives to school. It would be on his record forever, I suppose. Now, the state legislature is jumping into action with representatives introducing a bill that would amend Delaware’s zero tolerance law for school discipline.
From this we are able to ascertain that it wasn’t necessarily the school district that had the rule, but instead it was a mandate from the state. We heard a lot of people complaining about some of the federal efforts to combat terrorism after 911. There was a hue and cry over the eavesdropping legislation that allowed investigators to listen to phone transmissions without a warrant. Computers could pick out code words and then pick out calls to listen in on and do so before the call was completed, after which a smart bad guy might dispose of the cell phone and get another one to prevent future detection. By the time you got a warrant, the caller was long gone. But, I never heard of a single American whose rights of privacy was really violated. Yet, after high profile situations like at Columbine, many states and school districts created rules such as this and there have been numerous cases like this in which a pretty benign situation became elevated to an equal status as a kid who brought a weapon to school with malevolent intentions. The school board of this Houston Area School District approved of a girl’s suspension for having Advil in her backpack. Yet, there has been no hue and cry. Are laws like this on th books so that officials don’t have to make a decision? Do we want blanket rules without giving adminsitrators the flexibility to actually make decisions? Even if the amendment proposes passes, I’m not so sure that it would affect the kid retroactively unless the legislation specifically addresses Zachary’s particular sitution. Why are we more sensative to issues related to national security that may create a situation civil rights situation but allow blind policies that do often affect kids adversely?
Meanwhile, there are those who want to ban handguns. As it stands, it’s already illegal for criminals to have a gun, yet the still do. Criminals by definition do not obey the law. So, it will be interesting to see if the men who decided to have a shootout at a Toledo, OH bar face charges that fit the crime or if they will get something less than the 45 day sentence imposed on young Zachary. This video shows the suspects coming into the Route 66 Bar, starting a fight and then having a good old fashioned gun-battle. These guys should be charged with something, if for no other reason that with so many shots fired in such close proximity…the shooters didn’t hit anthing that they were aiming at, namely anyone else.