Green Room

Video: Student suspended for 10 days after accidentally carrying pocketknife to school

posted at 3:06 pm on September 17, 2013 by

The kicker? David Schaffner III voluntarily turned himself in to school authorities while at a football game, after he realized he’d kept his pocketknife after hunting. Instead of rewarding him for his honesty or at least mitigating the punishment somewhat, the school gave him the same punishment it would give a student who tried to sneak a weapon into a school event:

There is no metal detector, no bag check there, but Schaffner grabbed a security guard.

“Intentionally, willfully handed the pocket knife,” he said.

He even voluntarily wrote out and signed a statement, saying:

“I was in the woods behind my house at my tree stand and forgot to take my knife out of my pocket … came to the game and gave it to the security guard.”

With that, the Fox Chapel principal kicked him out of the game and then early Monday morning kicked him out of school for 10 days.

Schaffner says the punishment sends a horrible message.

“To me it sends a message, you should probably lie, ‘cause you’re going to get punished,” he said.

Now the family has to hire a lawyer.

This is another manifestation of the idiotic zero-tolerance policies adopted by schools. On one hand, we have a student who made a mistake and brought it to the school’s attention voluntarily, and on the other hand, we have a hypothetical of a student who maliciously brings a knife to school but gets caught. Even though the two situations are both objectively and subjectively different, the school treats both the same — so that they don’t have to exercise any common sense. It’s an absurdity, and yet another data point demonstrating the decline of adult leadership in public education.

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Well, I feel safer. Dodge a real, uh… real bullet there.

Jeddite on September 17, 2013 at 3:12 PM

During my senior year in high school, I used my mother’s old Girl Scout pocket knife as my keychain. I had it ‘clipped’ to my back back. All the school’s ‘powers-that-be’ knew that I had it.
NOTHING was so much as said to me about it.
This was ’87-88.
My how times have changed.

annoyinglittletwerp on September 17, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Fascists.

You give people/cops these draconian rules/laws and they’re gonna use ‘em… because they can. Power unchecked is power abused.

mankai on September 17, 2013 at 3:26 PM

If the kid found a security guard and told him that his car had been broken into in the school parking lot and everything stolen out of it… he’d get a copy of a report and told “good luck with that.”

Too many on the right have a love affair with the cops. They’re a necessary evil. Never forget that.

mankai on September 17, 2013 at 3:29 PM

TAR, FEATHERS </instapundit>

Chickyraptor on September 17, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Err… We used to bring our rifles to school and put them in our lockers so we could hunt on the way home. No one was ever hurt. I carried a pocket knife in my front left pocket from elementary school through high school. No one cared. Teachers would often ask to borrow it. We had sharp objects in art and shop classes.

[sigh] Those were the good ole’ days.

stvnscott on September 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM

If you might get caught, be sure to lie and/or ignore the issue as the best course of mitigation… Sounds like the president and his administration were all raised in the same school (of thought).

twgriff on September 17, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Rule 9- “Never go anywhere without a knife”

http://ncis.wikia.com/wiki/Leroy_Jethro_Gibbs/Rules

davidk on September 17, 2013 at 3:37 PM

“To me it sends a message, you should probably lie, ‘cause you’re going to get punished,” he said.

Can anybody say that isn’t the correct message to hear? This Alexis guy can shoot his gun through the ceiling into the apartment above, and nothing happens. But it was an accident while cleaning his gun and cooking at the same time, so that’s ok then, I believe that. /s

Fenris on September 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Used to carry a Smith & Wesson folding knife in a sheath on my belt. Every. Single. Day.

It was a tool, not a weapon.

I’d pull my kid out of that school of fools (actually, the bride and I did pull our kids out )

turfmann on September 17, 2013 at 3:44 PM

During my senior year in high school, I used my mother’s old Girl Scout pocket knife as my keychain. (snip) This was ’87-88.
My how times have changed.

annoyinglittletwerp on September 17, 2013 at 3:15 PM

I’m a bit younger than you. I openly carried and used a Swiss Army knife in class during my senior year and no one said squat either. This was ’93-’94.

I suspect the turning point for such things was probably Columbine in 1999.

JimLennon on September 17, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Of course. All power, and I mean ALL power, must be handed to authority.

Even the power to cut something must be handled by authority. The little people must not have power, and they must constantly be reminded of that, in order to keep order.

It’s all about power, and you must be trained to submit to power.

ZenDraken on September 17, 2013 at 3:52 PM

My son was being bullied mercilessly for weeks by thugs at his school. He took his uncle’s hunting knife to school in his backpack and stashed it in his locker. One of the thugs saw it, called security, and my son was EXPELLED!

The thugs stayed, to torment other kids.

Ishmael on September 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM

This Alexis guy can shoot his gun through the ceiling into the apartment above, and nothing happens. But it was an accident while cleaning his gun and cooking at the same time, so that’s ok then, I believe that. /s

Fenris on September 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Affirmative Action justice.

davidk on September 17, 2013 at 4:02 PM

During my senior year in high school, I used my mother’s old Girl Scout pocket knife as my keychain. (snip) This was ’87-88.
My how times have changed.

annoyinglittletwerp on September 17, 2013 at 3:15 PM

I’m a bit younger than you. I openly carried and used a Swiss Army knife in class during my senior year and no one said squat either. This was ’93-’94.

I suspect the turning point for such things was probably Columbine in 1999.

JimLennon on September 17, 2013 at 3:49 PM

When I was in the fifth grade, Patsy was suspended a week for carving her initials into a desk in the auditorium.

No problem with having the knife. Just with the carving.

davidk on September 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM

The pop tart in the shape of a gun is to give children gun phobias so they will vote for gun grabbers when they get older.

What are we doing about it?
Are red states MANDATING gun safety? Why not?

This knife idiocy creates idiots.

Repeal these stupid zero-tolerance policies.

GardenGnome on September 17, 2013 at 4:09 PM

My son was being bullied mercilessly for weeks by thugs at his school. He took his uncle’s hunting knife to school in his backpack and stashed it in his locker. One of the thugs saw it, called security, and my son was EXPELLED!
The thugs stayed, to torment other kids.
Ishmael on September 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM

That’s not right, not right at all.

But it’s a blessing in disguise.

Public schools are not what they once were, not at all.

The difference between my parent’s experience (1955), my experience (1980) and my kids (2012) is nothing short of shocking.

The town next to mine had 50% of its incoming freshman students make alternate arrangements, be they Catholic schools, voc-tec schools or charter schools.

And it’s about time, too between the soft as s*** administrators and the thugs in the teachers unions.

They deserve it and I deserve my tax dollars back.

turfmann on September 17, 2013 at 4:10 PM

I carried a pocket knife in my front left pocket from elementary school through high school. No one cared. Teachers would often ask to borrow it. We had sharp objects in art and shop classes.

[sigh] Those were the good ole’ days.

stvnscott on September 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Yup. We should require every boy past the age of seven to carry a pocket knife in order to be prepared for a host of needs. (Girls, too, if they want, but not required.)

SailorMark on September 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM

When I was in junior high (1995) I realized that I had left my pocketknife in my coat pocket (after weekend campout).

I planned on telling a teacher, but, as I thought about it, I had the feeling that things would just be better for me if I didn’t mention it to anyone. Mind you, I wasn’t a trouble maker. I was a straight A student, top 2% of the class, never had detention kind of kid. And yet, even though I was exactly the kind of kid they claimed they want people to be, I didn’t think it would go well for me if someone knew I had the knife.

Having seen what happened to this kid, I’m glad I never told a teacher.

Funny. If you asked the administration if they want kids to turn in pocketknives if they realize they accidentally brought them in, they would say absolutely. That way they’re under a teacher’s control and can be picked up by a parent after school.

Why is it then that they set up a system in which kids know that they will get in trouble regardless of why the knife is there which makes it much more likely that kids will not let adults know when they’ve brought something to school?

JadeNYU on September 17, 2013 at 4:21 PM

The government assumes that if you own anything, you are determined to use it in a negative way (defined by the government).

Therefore, they have to monitor you or take it away from you.

mankai on September 17, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Teachers are not smart…that is what this story is telling us.

A shame that teachers do not revolt against this idiocy.

right2bright on September 17, 2013 at 4:36 PM

“To me it sends a message, you should probably lie, ‘cause you’re going to get punished,” he said.

Maybe the message you should get is “Stop being such a drone of the state, young man.” Why in the world would you even worry about a pocketknife in your pocket? How is anyone going to even know? If you have to save a life in an emergency because you were carrying a sharp object, then you can worry about the rules. Until then, you have a relatively harmless tool in your pocket that won’t cause a fuss or a stir if it just stays there.

This was ’87-88.

annoyinglittletwerp on September 17, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Yep. (That was my senior college year.) I carried a pocketknife all through school. I alternated between a Boy Scout knife (I didn’t have much use for the bottle opener, but the awl could come in mighty handy) and an Old Henry three-blade. I still carry one or more – except when I fly.

GWB on September 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM

I have carried a pocket knife since I was 6 years old. I had one in grade school, Jr. High, High School, 2 universities and at work in at least 6 different countries. It is a tool, not a weapon and will not be a weapon until it is used as a weapon.

DAT60A3 on September 17, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Since I was 12(now 49) I do not leave the house without a pocketknife or my Swiss Army knife on my key chain.yes times have changed and certainly not for better. In my day no kid I knew went without a pocket knife and no one ever got hurt. It is not a weapon but rather a highly useful and handy tool.

jaywemm on September 17, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Pffff… When I was in high school, gun racks in pickups (with guns) were de reguere… a buddy of mine worked at a trap and skeet club after school, and it was common for him to come to school with two or three shotguns in the trunk of his Monte Carlo…

PointnClick on September 17, 2013 at 5:03 PM

They used to have rifle clubs at school.

Murphy9 on September 17, 2013 at 5:18 PM

My High School has a rifle range on campus! As a young ROTC Nazi, that is where I learned to shoot. I was on the High School rifle team. In college, we had a rifle and pistol range on campus and I competed at the NCAA level. I used to shoot 200 rounds a day 6 days a week – all on campus.

DAT60A3 on September 17, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Oh for crying out loud. The guard should have stuck the knife in his pocket and told the kid to come find him after the game.

There’s no need for this kind of bullshit.

Wendya on September 17, 2013 at 5:52 PM

I graduated HS mid-80s and many of us carried a pocket knife regularly from about 5th grade through adulthood. Except for a period of time from college to late 20s when I was working with institutionalized mentally ill/mentally disabled in which setting no knives was good policy for safety, although even then I kept one in my glove box. I think that by 6th or 7th grade most all the guys had a pocket knife, many of us carried them regularly in high school as did many teachers. It just wasn’t a problem

Now for my little brother, who was 4 fully years behind me in school, by the time he graduated HS there were some rules prohibiting carrying one, but IIRC it was confiscation not expulsion or even in school suspension on first offense unless being used as a weapon.

deepdiver on September 17, 2013 at 6:07 PM

zero tolerance = zero intelligence

anchorchick on September 17, 2013 at 6:12 PM

On one hand, we have a student who made a mistake and brought it to the school’s attention voluntarily, and on the other hand, we have a hypothetical of a student who maliciously brings a knife to school but gets caught.

I hate to step on your point, but there’s frankly something very wrong with the phrase, “maliciously brings a knife to school.”

At the Christian school my daughter was going to just about a decade ago, the preacher said from the pulpit that he was very surprised the school had a rule against bringing a pocketknife to school, and they were going to change the rule immediately.

He said, “Every boy needs a pocketknife. If you have a boy who doesn’t have one, let me know, and I’ll make sure he gets one.”

I’m sure people will say, “Well, you can’t do that in a public school.”
But you can allow pocketknives under a certain size, like under 3 inches and without a lockblade, and not act like some great crime has happened because a boy had a pocketknife. It’s a perfectly normal thing for a boy to have, teenager or not.

There Goes the Neighborhood on September 17, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Schaffner says the punishment sends a horrible message.

“To me it sends a message, you should probably lie, ‘cause you’re going to get punished,” he said.

Now the family has to hire a lawyer.

He learned a valuable lesson, all right: You can’t trust those in authority.

There Goes the Neighborhood on September 17, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Two words: Barlow.

davidk on September 17, 2013 at 7:06 PM

…W T F ?…

KOOLAID2 on September 17, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Give the school a respectful piece of your mind here >>

http://www.edline.net/pages/FCAHS/7512854670317493026/Contact_Us

Jamson64 on September 17, 2013 at 7:41 PM

We used to play mumbletypeg with our pocket knives at school recess. They didn’t mind as long as nobody got stuck. ‘course that was back in the 60′s.

JimK on September 17, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Another sign that common sense has been dead for some time now.

rukiddingme on September 17, 2013 at 9:33 PM

No knives in school? My gosh what are they expected to clip the ends of their cigars with? Seriously though what do band members do? The reeds have to be trimmed. New ones before use older ones during use. Is this now out in all schools. What’s next no bands. We had inter city rifle teams in Chicago and a rifle range in the school.

jpcpt03 on September 17, 2013 at 10:20 PM

I guess in the few remaining schools with wood shop class they just read about carpentry now.

DarthBrooks on September 18, 2013 at 1:19 AM

I guess in the few remaining schools with wood shop class they just read about carpentry now.

DarthBrooks on September 18, 2013 at 1:19 AM

Tree murderer!

mankai on September 18, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Ill bet the “school security guard” votes straight Democrat.

BigAlSouth on September 18, 2013 at 8:58 AM

You’re only hearing one side here. I always take these stories with a grain of salt. The schools can’t talk about it due to the involvement of a minor. If it goes before the school board, there will be more facts to go on.

Blake on September 18, 2013 at 9:10 AM

I experienced something rather similar, finding I’d brought my swiss army knife to school and handed it in to the teacher only to find myself in front of the head mistress who lectured me on the dangers of knives and where had I got it?

She threatened to involve the police and called my father in to collect it . He told her she was wasting her time as my godfather gifted to me and he was Head of the Police Authority.

EnglishRogue on September 18, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Too many on the right have a love affair with the cops. They’re a necessary evil. Never forget that.

mankai on September 17, 2013 at 3:29 PM

That’s been changing. I see far fewer “law & order” conservatives these days than back when I was growing up. The increasingly predominant attitude on the right regarding the police is moving towards the libertarian angle, which sees the police as a tool used by the ruling authorities to protect themselves from political dissenters. Given the government’s behavior in the last 10-15 years, conservative disenchantment with the police is not surprising.

I hate to step on your point, but there’s frankly something very wrong with the phrase, “maliciously brings a knife to school.”

At the Christian school my daughter was going to just about a decade ago, the preacher said from the pulpit that he was very surprised the school had a rule against bringing a pocketknife to school, and they were going to change the rule immediately.

He said, “Every boy needs a pocketknife. If you have a boy who doesn’t have one, let me know, and I’ll make sure he gets one.”

I’m sure people will say, “Well, you can’t do that in a public school.”
But you can allow pocketknives under a certain size, like under 3 inches and without a lockblade, and not act like some great crime has happened because a boy had a pocketknife. It’s a perfectly normal thing for a boy to have, teenager or not.

There Goes the Neighborhood on September 17, 2013 at 6:49 PM

You need to understand that most teachers and administrators just hear “knife” and the brain turns off and reacts to it as a deadly weapon. A lot of this has to do with the problem of violence and fears of violence in our schools, particularly in inner city schools. This is what is leading to the implementation of these zero tolerance policies, since they are not allowed to target problem students.

With that being said, this school’s reaction to the incident is ridiculous and the administrators who suspended the kid should be fired.

Doomberg on September 18, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Good friends of mine had their son expelled from his middle school last year after he found a small hunting knife he had left in his backpack after a hunting trip with his dad. A teacher saw him pull the knife out and hauled him to the principal’s office, where he was not allowed to call his parents or give an explanation, just summarily dismissed. In the middle of the school year. Parents had to scramble to find another school that would take him and couldn’t. The mother ended up quitting her part-time job to homeschool him for the rest of the year. They were able to find a Christian school this year that would take him, but the whole experience has left him insecure and angry and his grades have fallen.

rockmom on September 18, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Just my 2 cents as the parent of two school age kids. Our experience with the institution of public grade school level education is that it has become glorified day care, and a poorly run one at that.

A couple of years ago, the district started busing ESL students to our combined grade school and jr. high because we have the largest building. These kids have brought intimidation, violence, theft, and drugs into the building. When I was growing up, nobody would have imagined dogs sniffing for heroin in an upper middle class suburban jr. high. The perpetrators are, incidentally, not caught or punished despite all the “zero tolerance” nonsense.

Meanwhile, the district keeps buying useless toys….electronic blackboards, iPads, a new athletic track…but the quality of the education keeps decreasing. Of the three decent teacher our kids encountered there, two have left the school. One of them, an acquaintance of ours, left the teaching profession entirely in disgust.

As of this year, my wife and I have pulled both of our boys and are homeschooling.

I want my damn taxes back!

/rant

ElectricPhase on September 18, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Doomberg on September 18, 2013 at 11:53 AM

I hope so. But look at this recent line from an article at Townhall:

Judging from the footage, these officers could perhaps tone down the roughness of their arrests, but can we talk about these hypocritical protesters for a second?

Excusing the “roughness” of the cops against protesters. After all, they were just following order, right?

Dangerous.

mankai on September 18, 2013 at 1:08 PM

I exited the public school system as a student in ’95, and even then, and as far back as I can remember, we weren’t permitted to carry knives. I even brought my approval card from Scouts and showed to my 3rd grade homeroom teacher in an effort to prove that people can actually be responsible with such things. I was immediately taken to the office and my bag and coat searched to find out if I had a knife.

They didn’t check my boot…

But no, this goes farther back than Columbine. I went to school across town from there, in a much less savory neighborhood than Littleton. I suppose that might have had some impact on my district’s policy, but still pretty damn ridiculous given the other things we got away with. Like middle and high school archery…

PXCharon on September 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Don’t you see, now that they suspended a white kid for bringing this pocket knife to school, they can kick out a black kid who brings a gun to school- you know, they have to have equal outcomes in school discipline based on race. Why else would they bust white kids for midol possession? To equalize the race statistics that would look bad if they only kicked out crack-peddling black kids.

Spartacus on September 18, 2013 at 6:51 PM