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I am a neolibertarian minded individual who feels that freedom and individual rights take precedence over the wants of government. I believe government exists to serve the people and not to protect us from ourselves. I am an advocate for private firearms ownership, smaller government, reduced taxes and freedom to live your life however you choose, providing you do not directly hurt others.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

8th Grader to Be Expelled For Honesty

Here's a depressing story from the

A Far-Eastside couple say they are stunned that a Warren Township Schools principal suspended their son and recommended his expulsion for possession of a pocketknife even though he turned the knife in to the office as soon as he arrived at school.


Elliot, 14, said he was walking to the school entrance in the brisk weather March 3 and had placed his hands in his coat pocket when he felt the Swiss army pocketknife in the pocket.

"I went straight to the office right inside (the front door)," he said.

He said he handed the knife to Teri Donahue, the school's treasurer, and told her he had brought it to school by mistake.

Moral of the Story:
If you have the misfortune of attending a school in which you can be expelled for possessing a multipurpose tool such as a Swiss Army knife, and if you inadvertently carry it to school, don't be honest and turn it in.

Besides being notified by letter on March 21 of the expulsion effort against Elliot, the boy's mother received a letter dated March 20 from Michael J. Wallpe, Warren Township Schools' associate superintendent of school improvement.

Ironically, the letter states that Elliot is recommended for advanced placement courses in English, science and social studies for his freshman year at Warren Central High School.

Voge-Wehrheim said her son's suspension already has damaged grades on his latest report card.

She and Elliot note he has always had good grades, has participated in a variety of school activities and has never had any other disciplinary matter arise against him in his school years.

What is wrong with this school? In the first place, it shouldn't be against policy to carry a small Swiss Army knife to school. They are amazingly useful tool. I carried one on me at all times when I was that age, and often loaned it to teachers to fix minor problems in various class rooms. Its primary purpose is as a tool, and it make a fairly poor improvised weapon compared to the infinite array of possibilities that haven't been banned. What happened to the old ethic of "Be Prepared"? If I see a kid with a Swiss army knife, I think "Boy Scout" and not "slasher murderer in training".

Secondly, if this boy really is an honor student with good grades, no disciplinary problems and has been slated to take Advanced Placement courses, why can't the principal use common sense and just give him a break? By voluntarily turning in the knife before class, this good student made it pretty obvious he had just made a mistake and wasn't trying to cause a problem. It's not as if he was caught with it after threatening someone with it; he turned it in an attempt to comply with the stupid rule.

Here's a link to the Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, which lists names and email address for some of the Superintedents and Associate Superintendents. If you also feel that this suspension and possible explusion is ridiculious, feel free to visit this page and use these email addresses to voice your thoughts on the matter.

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