The Delaware first-grader suspended for bringing a camping knife to school is welcome to return after the school board amended its zero-tolerance policy. Zachary Christie was to spend 45 days at an alternative school; now, kindergarten and 1st-grade students with a “dangerous instrument”—a blade less than 3 inches—face a 3-to-5-day suspension and counseling. “We need to recognize the cognitive level of these kids,” a school board member tells the News Journal.
“We need to provide a little leeway,” the member continues. An expert says boards often arrive at these draconian policies as a way to eliminate discrimination, but it doesn’t make the situation any less bizarre. “They're scared of opening themselves up to a lawsuit so they turn to these one-size-fits-all policies,” he says. “But unfortunately that leads to some crazy kind of decisions and some strange and odd outcomes.”