A Florida elementary school suspended a first-grade student for bringing a butter knife to the campus.
Maude Saunders Elementary School's Principal Pamela Jones says the child was spotted with the knife while eating lunch at the school cafeteria, reports WJHG.
"We had an incident with a student in first grade that did have a butter knife in her possession," Jones said.
"The Assistant Principal acted on the incident, spoke with the parents and initiated the suspension for the safety and well-being of all our students," she added.
School officials explain the punishment was in line with a district-wide policy that states: "[P]ossession of a dangerous item ... will constitute a serious breach of conduct requiring administrative disciplinary action and will include suspension or expulsion."
However, many parents argue the school responded too harshly to the incident.
"They should have called the parents, brought the parents in, [said]: 'Let's get this student together, get the parent and let's get the guidance counselor together to discuss what had happened and why they should not bring one to school,'" said parent Willie Moore, whose child is a second-grade student at the school.
"[It was] just a butter knife," added Moore. "The kid doesn't understand, you know? And [she] may have wanted to make [herself] a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Spread [her] jelly, spread [her] peanut butter, something or another, you know, but that's just a little much aggressive to me."
It's not the first time in the past year a Florida school has punished a child for possessing a butter knife on campus, RT reports.
Silver Trail Middle School suspended an 11-year-old after she used a "paw print knife" from home to cut her peach in the cafeteria so she could share it with a friend.
The school suspended the girl for six days afterwards, outraging the child's parents.
"This is a set of a spoon, fork and knife for toddlers … It does not cut," the child's mother Andrea Souto said, reports WLPG. "It is made for children to learn how to eat properly. She's used it since she was baby."
"She's afraid now of the educators," chimed in Ronald Souto about his daughter. "She's afraid of people at school. They need to change the system."
The parents sought legal counsel after the incident.
"It is tragic that a school that this little girl loves sees fit to prosecute and suspend her, the epitome of a model and honor roll student, for using a child-proof utensil that could never be construed in any form as a weapon in order to share part of her lunch with a fellow classmate," said their attorney, Larry Meltzer.