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Teen Suspended For Knife in Car; Zero Tolerance Run Amok Again?

In another case of zero tolerance perhaps taken too far, an Eagle Scout in upstate New York was suspended from school for having a two-inch pocketknife in a car he brought onto school grounds.

Matthew Wallen, 17, said the knife was a gift from his grandfather, who is a small town police chief. He said he kept the knife in his car as part of a survival kit in case of emergencies. Another student saw it and told on him.

But Wallen's seemingly rational explanation was apparently not enough for school officials in Troy, New York, who slapped him with a 20-day suspension for violating the school's zero tolerance policy on weapons.

Wallen always dreamed of going to West Point. Now he is concerned about his chances of getting accepted.

This is the second time this week a student got suspended for a seemingly innocent reason. 6-year-old Zachary Christie brought a Cub Scout eating tool to his school in Newark, Delaware. His punishment? -- spend a whopping 45 days in reform school. After widespread criticism, the school board reversed course Tuesday, and will allow Zachary back in the first grade.

Nobody wants weapons in our schools. But doesn't common sense have to play a part of any "zero tolerance" rule? Or does "no weapons" mean "no weapons"? Should school officials follow the letter or the spirit of the law? Should they know the difference between a kid bringing a gun into school and a kid with a tool that has a spork and a dull knife?

Read more on, 6, Brings Cub Scout Eating Tool to School, Out 45 Days


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