She's an honor student who said she made an honest mistake.
That mistake got her expelled, and on Monday her school board followed a draconic zero-tolerance policy and voted unanimously to keep most of her punishment in place.
When she nabbed a summer job that required her to bike between southwest Detroit and Dearborn, Michigan, 17-year-old Atiya Haynes' grandfather gave her a pocketknife with which to protect herself, WJBK-TV reported.
She said she forgot it was in her purse — until security guards found it during a bag check at an Annapolis High School football game, leading to her expulsion.
On Monday evening, the Dearborn Heights District 7 Board of Education spent two hours considering Haynes' case, and eventually the board voted 6-0 to allow her to take online classes to graduate — but she still won't be allowed to physically go back to school.
It's all because of a zero-tolerance policy for weapons in school.
Haynes, who had participated in extracurricular activities and sports and plans to go to college after graduating this spring, seemed rocked by the board's decision.
"I'm disgusted," she told WJBK. "I can't believe that...no empathy. Put your child in this situation. Every time you forget your keys to your house, think of me. Think of this honest mistake. I'm a human being. I'm 17 years old. It's disgusting that you can sleep at night knowing that you can potentially ruin somebody's life."
The board superintendent defended the board's decision, saying the group was bound to uphold Michigan laws.
As Slate noted, the board could have given Haynes an exemption based on her testimony that she forgot the knife was in her purse and had no intention of using it as a weapon on school grounds, but the board stuck with a fairly harsh punishment.
The blade of Haynes' knife, Slate mentioned, was 3 1/4 inches long; Michigan's zero-tolerance policy for weapons on school grounds extends down to knives with 3-inch blades.
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