We were sent this link via our tip line. This does seem to be a perfect example of where zero tolerance policies at our schools offer no intelligence:
Zachary is six years old and was a first grader at Downes Elementary School in Newark, Delaware. [...]
On Tuesday, September 29th, Zachary brought his camping utensil to school to use at lunch (spoon, fork, bottle opener, and knife). As he was getting off the bus, a teacher asked him what he was holding in his hand. Zachary showed it to her and explained why he had brought it… to eat his lunch. The teacher gave the utensil to the principal, at which point Zach was suspended from school pending a school district hearing.
The [Christina] School District committee recommended that he be alternatively placed at The Douglass School, a reform school for juvenile delinquents. This is the same school where they place children who have severe behavioral problems and who are guilty of such offenses as assault and battery, rape, drug offenses, concealing a deadly weapon, and more. Since there is absolutely zero chance that we will allow that to happen, the only hope for Zachary being able to rejoin his friends at Downes Elementary is if Christina School District Superintendent Marcia Lyles or the Christina School Board intervenes to overturn the committee’s decision.
Did you catch the fact that HE IS SIX YEARS OLD?!?!?! We haven’t spoken to anybody who believes that the zero tolerance policy is either rational or reasonable, but the District continues to follow it in spite of legislation (HB 120) that calls for school districts to use sound judgment in reviewing these cases.
Please help! Please send emails and letters to the Christina School Board and to Christina School District Superintendent Marcia Lyles (contact info listed below)… MOST IMPORTANTLY, Please come to the School Board meeting on Tuesday, October 13th. Our goal is to have 10,000 people there to make the School Board listen to reason and stop victimizing the same innocent children they are supposed to be protecting.
Come to the School Board meeting and make your voice heard!
October 13, 2009
General Business Meeting ~ 7:30 pm
Porter Road Elementary School
500 Caledonia Way, Bear, DE
I don’t know Zachary or his parents, but on the face of this story, the facts seem to indicate nothing more than confiscation of the camping utensil with its later return to Zachary’s parents, and nothing more. To suspend him and then send him to a school for juvenile delinquents is not only assine, it is cruel. Now, I highly doubt 10,000 people will ever make it out to a Christina School Board meeting, but if you agree that the zero tolerance policy at work here is not only counterproductive, but cruel, then please consider contacting the Christina School Board or attend the meeting.