By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
Zachary Christie, a six-year-old first-grader, was suspended and was facing 45 days in an alternative school for troublemakers for taking his favorite camping utensil to school. The utensil was a combination knife/fork/spoon that the child had planned to use to eat his lunch. The child was expelled under the school’s guidelines for dealing with children who bring weapons to school or commit violent offenses.
After public outcry, the school board voted to change the penalty for kindergartners and first-graders to a 3-5 day suspension. Zachary’s punishment was one of many recent incidents that have called into question schools’ zero-tolerance policies.
Of course, the school district has a responsibility to protect students from weapons and aggressive behavior. They can be held liable if a student in injured while at school. But the need for common sense to take precedence over blindly following the letter of school policy is obvious in this case. Assessing incidents on a case by case basis rather than reacting to all incidents with the same harsh punishment actually creates a safer and more stable environment for children.
Find out more about this story at Delaware 1st Grader Has 45-Day Suspension Lifted.</a