Inundated by 1,000 phone calls and a national media frenzy, and faced with a couple hundred people who showed up to protest, the Christina, De., school board last night amended a zero-tolerance policy and cleared the way for Zachary Christie, 6, to return to his first-grade class, the Wilmington News Journal reports. The boy was suspended on Sept. 29 for bringing a camping utensil with a knife, fork, and spoon to school.
Now, students in kindergarten or first grade who bring a dangerous instrument to school will face a three- to five-day out-of-school suspension and then be allowed to return to their school where they will receive counseling. Zachary had been due for 45 days at an alternative school. “We need to recognize the cognitive level of these kids,” said board member John Mackenzie. “We need to provide a little leeway.” Kenneth Trump, a national school safety consultant, said suspending a 6-year-old for bringing a knife to school is not uncommon, but forcing a 6-year-old to go to an alternative school for 45 days is “over the top” compared to other school districts.