When 7th grader Kyler Davies found a pocket knife in the bottom of his brand new backpack, he knew that he had to tell school officials immediately. What he didn't know was that he would be suspended for doing so.
His mother, Denise, bought her son the bag from Goodwill and never searched it thoroughly, according to CBS affiliate WWMT. When Kyler took it to school and was rummaging through it to grab something, he found a leather case that he had never seen before. Upon closer inspection, he found that it held a pocket knife.
He went straight to his counselor to report his finding.
"[Kyler] pulled it out and his counselor was standing there, and he says can I call my mom? And she's like why do you need to call your mom? He says well, I found this, this isn't mine," said Denise to WWMT.
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Despite his honesty, he was immediately suspended for one year because of the school's no-tolerance policy. After his mother explained the situation, the school gave partial leniency, knocking down the suspension to 30 days.
The Coldwater Community School student was also prevented from playing on his local football team, which, while an independent organization from the school, still uses their campus and school buses. The local football program, Coldwater Rocket Football, was actually told by the school district to expel Kyler from the team entirely -- a request the team refused.
"He was turning it over like he was supposed to, and you are punishing him for doing what's right. So what is that teaching these kids?" Denise asks WWMT. She went on to say that she will be most likely transferring her 12-year-old to a different school entirely.
A similar story made headlines in January when 11-year-old Lane Cottingham found a pocket knife in his jeans, according to Rapid City Journal. He found it lying around his house and knew it belonged to his older brother who liked to make wood carvings. He put it in his pocket to return to him but forgot all about it until it fell out of his clothes while changing for gym. Cottingham was suspended for 10 days.
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These scenarios don't add up to Denise Davies, who believes that schools' blanket no-tolerance policies should change and look at scenarios on a case-by-case basis.
"I understand the violence stuff that's going on in schools, I said but when you get some boys that are honest and turns it in -- he wasn't trying to hide it -- and then he's getting punished for it," Denise said to WWMT.