Ashley Smithwick, a 17-year-old senior at Southern Lee High School, has reportedly been suspended for the balance of the school year because a paring knife was found in her lunchbox – which, incidentally, wasn’t hers:
The lunchbox really belonged to Joe Smithwick, who packs a paring knife to slice his apple. He and his daughter have matching lunchboxes.Ok, that last line is mine. But if the story is true (incidentally, the school has since denied it; more below), then it means that some school administrators see zero tolerance as being equivalent to zero latitude for the exercise of common sense, a pretext for avoiding the responsibility for using one’s own judgment – in which case, why not replace highly paid education bureaucrats with low-wage rent-a-cops, who can just stalk the halls, randomly frisking students and ransacking lockers?
“It’s just an honest mistake. That was supposed to be my lunch because it was a whole apple,” he said.
Lee County Superintendent Jeff Moss told the Sanford Herald that he can’t discuss the specifics of the case, but school policy allows principals to consider the context of each case and determine discipline.
Moss said students who accidentally carry a weapon and report it to teachers will get a light punishment. If teachers find it, he said, the discipline is harsher.
“When the principals conduct their investigations, what typically is fleshed out is the true intent,” he told the newspaper. “Bottom line is we want to ensure every child feels safe on our campus. Because most of our students are, you know, pussies – have been, ever since the great cheese-grater massacre of ’08.”
I am hereby, tentatively, establishing the Committee to Readmit Ashley Smithwick. If her story proves to be true, and she is not ultimately readmitted, then I will fold the organization into the Committee to Run the Lee County School Board Out of Town on a Rail. If her story turns out to be false, then I will immediately establish a Committee to Apologize to the Lee County School Board and Prevent Paco Enterprises from Establishing Any More Committees).
(H/T: Frugal Café)
About that denial: School officials claim that the knife was found in Ashley’s purse, not her lunchbox. Here’s a video allegedly showing the offending bag. Note the letters, “byo”? Presumably as in "Bring Your Own" ("lunch" would seem to be implied)? Er, it’s a lunchbox (or canvas lunch sack, rather). And there’s no doubt that she was charged with misdemeanor weapons possession. The denial also says that Ashley is “currently enrolled in the school”. Does that mean the same thing as “permitted to come on campus”? Why, no, not necessarily, because, remember: Pampered Chef paring knives don’t kill people; people do.