School Relaxes Policy on Weapons in School

By Sadie Bass

Oct 13, 2009 5:00pm

ABC's Stu Schutzman reports from New York:

6 year old Zachary Christie may be getting a reprieve after all.  After a deluge of calls and in anticipation of a mob scene at their meeting tonight, the Newark, Delaware school board says it will relax its zero tolerance policy on weapons in school as it applies to the youngest students. As reported yesterday, Zachary, a first grader, faced expulsion from school or 45 days in reform school for bringing his Cub Scouts combo eating utensil to school. Zach said he wanted to try it out at lunchtime. The school said the utensil(approved by the Cub scouts)qualified as a weapon and under the zero tolerance policy, had no choice but to throw the book at Zach.

Zach’s parents are both active in his school, his mom is co-president of the PTA. On a website, helpzachary.com, she describes her son as “ a smart, happy, outgoing child who plays Little League baseball, is a Cub scout, studies martial arts, is actively involved in his church youth group, and is actively involved in school activities.”  “We haven’t spoken to anybody,” she writes, “ who believes that the zero tolerance policy is either rational or reasonable.”

Zach’s predicament has garnered tons of press in the last 2 days, not un-noticed, apparently by the school board. “The policy, of course, needs some added flexibility,” said board member John Mackenzie, “politically, zero tolerance is what everybody clamors for, until we start to realize how harsh zero tolerance can be.” As we said yesterday — common sense! The board will announce 3-5 day suspensions in stead of expulsion or reform school for kids in kindergarten and first grade.

Zach, who is being home-schooled, told CBS he misses his friends and wants to get back to school. “I agree they shouldn’t bring dangerous weapons to school,” he said, “but I don’t think the punishment should be this bad. It’s not fair.”

Common sense…..out of the mouths of babes.

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