Parents and elected officials are demanding that schools slacken zero-tolerance policies that are meant to reduce violence because strict adherence has lead to some students being forced out of school for bringing items such as eyebrow trimmers and a Cub Scout’s camping tool to campus, reports USA Today. The most recent high-profile case involved Zachary Christie, 6, suspended for five days after he brought a camping utensil that was part knife, fork, and spoon to school in Newark, De.
“It’s almost like taking a jaywalker and throwing him into a maximum-security prison,” says Fred Hink of Texas Zero Tolerance, a parents group that urges school administrators to use common sense in disciplinary cases. Charlie Kyte of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators says strict and consistent policies are needed to create a safe environment for students, especially in big cities. “We’re starting to see gangs of young men that are more violent than they were many years ago,” he says. “We have to make sure that kind of behavior doesn’t have weapons involved in our schools.”