The Christina School District in Newark, Delaware managed to put the numbers 6 and 45 together and realize it added up to a deeply negative result last night. Angry parents descended on the school board meeting to demand an answer why they had ordered a six-year-old boy to go to reform school for 45 days — longer than Zachary Christie had been in the first grade — for the crime of carrying a Cub Scout utility tool to school.  Faced with a deluge of bad publicity, the board instead directed that Zachary serve a suspension of three to five days:

However, on Tuesday night the school board made a hasty change to its code of conduct. The seven-member board voted unanimously to reduce the punishment for kindergartners and first-graders who bring weapons to school or commit other violent offenses to a suspension ranging from three to five days. Now, he could return Wednesday. …

School board member John Mackenzie told The Associated Press before the meeting that he was surprised school officials did not use common sense and disregard the policy in Zachary’s case. The need for common sense to prevail over the letter of the law was a recurring theme among the boy’s supporters and school safety experts.

“When that common sense is missing, it sends a message of inconsistency to students, which actually creates a less safe environment,” said Kenneth S. Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, a consulting firm. “People have to understand that assessing on a case-by-case basis doesn’t automatically equate to being soft or unsafe.”

Wow!  It sounds like they have almost recovered their own common sense.  Almost:

Jennifer Jankowski, who runs the special education programs at Jennie Smith Elementary in Newark, said schools need to be vigilant about protecting students. If Zachary or another student had been hurt by the knife, she said, the district would have taken the blame.

“If we can’t punish him, then what about kids that did bring (a weapon) for bad things?” Jankowski said. “There’s more to the school’s side than just us being mean and not taking this child’s interests into account.”

Do they teach Strawman 101 in Bureaucrat School, or do they just get on-the-job training in it?  No one said that the school should take no disciplinary action against the boy.  The criticism came from applying a one-size-fits-all punishment to a situation, thanks to a mindless “zero tolerance” policy that gets bureaucrats off the hook for applying judgment to situations.  They treated this incident the same as they would a child who brought a switchblade and threatened other children with it.  Equating the two doesn’t make children any safer; it just makes bureaucrats’ backsides safer.

Is it any wonder more people opt to home-school their children or look for other alternatives to public schools?

Tags: Delaware