A ten-year-old has been suspended from school for having the blade from a broken pencil sharpener in his possession:
The problem was his sharpener had broken, but he decided to use it anyway.The most reasonable thing to do: cancel the suspension and apologize.
A teacher at Hilton Head Island International Baccalaureate Elementary School noticed the boy had what appeared to be a small razor blade during class on Tuesday, according to a Beaufort County sheriff's report.
It was obvious that the blade was the metal insert commonly found in a child's small, plastic pencil sharpener, the deputy noted.
The boy — a fourth-grader described as a well-behaved and good student — cried during the meeting with his mom, the deputy and the school's assistant principal.
He had no criminal intent in having the blade at school, the sheriff's report stated, but was suspended for at least two days and could face further disciplinary action.
District spokesman Randy Wall said school administrators are stuck in the precarious position between the district's zero tolerance policy against having weapons at school and common sense.
"We're always going to do something to make sure the child understands the seriousness of having something that could potentially harm another student, but we're going to be reasonable," he said.
Given recent incidents in which pencils and ballpoint pens have served as weapons, the war on broken sharpeners seems — sorry — pointless.
[And I'm thinking now of my grade-school friend Henry Rothstein, who once wrote with a broken-off point rather than sharpen.]
[Update, 10:15 p.m.: According to the police report, the boy is a "very good student and has not been in any previous trouble." He used the blade to sharpen "his pencil" (his only pencil?), a pencil one inch in length — too short of course to sharpen with a sharpener.
The key words for this story? They would seem to be humiliation and poverty.]