In the latest example of school "no tolerance" policies gone awry, a west Pennsylvania elementary school has suspended a 10-year-old boy for having a plastic toy knife that was part of his Halloween costume in his backpack.
According to KDKA-TV, the boy, who attends Ringgold Elementary School in Monongahela, did not brandish the toy knife at anyone or threaten them with it. According to his father, James Fine, the knife "was $2.97 at Walmart, in the Halloween clearance section when we were buying their costumes."
The knife also does not appear to be sharp or even potentially serviceable as an actual weapon.
The boy, whose name is Danny, did not even know the knife was in his book bag, but when officials discovered it there, they gave him three days of out-of-school suspension.
According to KDKA, officials found the knife in Danny's bag after school and confiscated it, then called his parents and notified them of the suspension.
James was understandably irate, telling KDKA that "a little more common sense and understanding should have been used." According to Fine, when the school contacted him to explain the reason for the suspension, they told him it was based on a statewide school weapons policy. According to Fine, the school told him, "No matter what it is, if it resembles [a weapon], it has to be considered [a weapon]. So maybe the policy's wrong... I just feel a little more common sense and understanding should have been used the day after Halloween."
Danny, meanwhile, is most upset that his suspension will cause him to miss school work that he needs to prepare for a test, telling KDKA that "I have an out-of-school suspension for three days now, but I’d rather have an in-school suspension, and I wouldn’t miss my schoolwork ’cause I have a test on Friday, and I’m not going to be in school on Friday."