More than a decade ago, a little girl accidentally grabbed her mother's lunch box instead of her own. She inadvertently brought a paring knife to school, which her mother had intended to use to peel an apple for lunch. The young girl, upon finding the knife, immediately took it to the lunchroom attendant. Sounds like the girl used common sense and did the right thing, right? Wrong. This situation erupted into legislation and national media attention. According to state law, the principal had to expel the student for bringing a "dangerous weapon" to school.
This situation actually happened at Twin Peaks Charter Academy in Longmont. I remmember the uproar at the Legislature when people wondered "why wasn't common sense at play in this situation?"
Fast forward to 2009 and the state of Colorado is once again pondering "where is common sense?" Seventeen-year-old high school senior Marie Morrow has been suspended for 10 days and will soon face an expulsion for having three drill practice rifles in the back of her car on campus. Tustin Amole, speaking for the Cherry Creek School District this morning on KOA radio said that state law requires Morrow be expelled, but it does give discretion for how long the expulsion will be.
Less than a year before the little girl brought a paring knife to Twin Peaks Academy a little first grade boy brought a Chinese star to Jefferson Academy Charter School in Broomfield for show and tell. The principal, using common sense contacted the district to inquire about his options and then technically expelled the boy for the rest of the afternoon and the boy was back in school the following day. No big deal and no media attention.
Who really believes lawmakers intended for little children to be expelled for a mishap when they didn't even realize they were "breaking" a state law? Marching band color guards across the nation use wooden rifle facsimiles for their routines and yet we've never heard about color guard team members being expelled from school for transporting their facsimile rifles. Watch as Marie Morrow will be expelled from high school during her senior year even though she is a model student who plans to attend the U.S. Marine Merchant Academy next year.
For more on zero-tolerance absurdity, check out Ben DeGrow's column at EdNews Colorado. Mr. Bob has information on how to contact the principal and district superintendent.