A fifth-grader in Cupertino, Calif., was suspended and threatened with expulsion for bringing a Swiss Army knife on an overnight nature fieldtrip.
Each year Garden Gate Elementary School holds a week-long camping trip for fifth-graders to Marin Headlands, just thirty minutes from San Francisco. For the early April trip, 10-year-old Braden Bandermann packed his Swiss Army knife, containing a can opener, nail file, toothpick, small scissors, and small blade.
“They called me,” said the boy’s father, Tony Bandermann. “They said, ‘You have to come and get him. He has a weapon. He needs to be suspended or possibly expelled.’”
Principal Brandi Hucko wanted Bandermann to come pick up his son for a one-day suspension and then bring him back the following day.
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Braden’s stepmother was on the trip with him, but, since they travelled with the school bus, they had no transportation of their own in order to leave. His father was 100 miles away on a business trip in Sacramento.
Bandermann was frustrated that Hucko insisted “that I risk my job and go get him out of the program for a one-day suspension all over a Swiss Army knife.”
“I went to the very same trip when I was a child at the same school, and I had a very similar Swiss Army knife,” he said. “In fact, most of the kids did.”
Hucko did not agree.
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Bandermann suggested to Hucko that school officials take the knife and discipline his son later once he returned to school.
Instead, Hucko had Braden spend the day isolated from other children in a teacher’s lounge area. He could not participate in activities, he had to eat meals alone, and he slept separately from other kids.
“This is not Sandy Hook,” he said. “Get real. He brought a stupid Swiss Army knife to camp.”
The Cupertino Union School District did not comment on the matter.
This is not the first time this month a parent has raised concerns about suspesion from a public school over questionable items. News of Braden's suspension comes one week after reports of West Virginia eighth-grader Jared Marcum being suspended from his school for wearing a NRA shirt with a gun on it.