Eight year-old Christopher Kissinger from Jonesboro, Arkansas was suspended from school
last week for pointing a chicken finger
from the school's cafeteria at a teacher
and saying "Pow, pow, pow." The boy received a three day suspension.
The Jonesboro School District has a zero tolerance policy against weapons, and the chicken finger apparently violated that policy in this incident. According to South Elementary principal Dan Sullivan, the punishment "depends on the tone, the demeanor, and in some manner you judge the intent. It's not the object in the hand, it's the thought in the mind. Is a plastic fork worse than a metal fork? Is a pencil a weapon?"
Unfortunately, Christopher's case isn't unique. Zero tolerance policies against weapons in schools have gone too far since various high-profile incidents of violence in high schools throughout the US. Ben Ratner was expelled from Blue Ridge Middle School in Virginia for violating his school's weapons policy after he took a knife away from a friend who was threatening suicide. A 15-year-old Florida student was suspended because his nail clippers included a file.
I'm all for keeping weapons out of schools, but shouldn't we wait for students to bring the weapon before we suspend them?