A kindergarten student in Brooklyn, MI remains on suspension for an incident this past Friday. One student reportedly threatened another with a 1 3/4″ blade on the playground. It was reported to teachers, and while officials did not report the incident to police (good for them), the parents of the threatened child filed an assault report two hours later.
If the student is a legitimate behavioral case, he deserves to be suspended or expelled. If it was a case of two 5 year-olds being 5-year olds, the situation should be resolved with a minimum of fuss.
However, officials seem hung up on the fine points of the law, rather than exercising discretion based on the severity of the threat.
According to the state Revised School Code, students possessing a “dangerous” weapon at school must be expelled from school permanently, subject to possible reinstatement…
…According to the Revised School Code, a “dangerous” weapon is a firearm, dirk, dagger, stiletto, iron bar, knife with a blade of three inches or more in length, pocket knife opened by a mechanical device or brass knuckles.
Because this knife’s blade was shorter than three inches, Campbell said school officials remain careful in their investigation to be sure correct interpretations of the law are made so correct decisions can be made.
“This certainly is not a trivial situation,” Campbell said. “We are evaluating the situation carefully to make sure all our children are safe.”
I understand that laws based on technicalities are the norm, but it is problematic in that it doesn’t allow for common sense to be used to reach a just and fair conclusion. It may be that the perpetrator of the threat is a child with issues that need to be addressed by the legal system, or at least quasi-judicial process in the school. Or it may well be that a five year old simply needs to be sat down and reminded why we don’t threaten to hurt someone. Those closest to the situation should have the discretion to act accordingly.