Yet Another Example of the Stupidity of Zero-Tolerance Policies
An athletic and academic standout in Lee County said a lunchbox mix-up has cut short her senior year of high school and might hurt her college opportunities.
This month, Ashley Smithwick, a soccer player who takes college-level courses, was charged with misdemeanor possession of a weapon on school grounds. She is no longer allowed to set foot on campus.
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.
Bottom line: according to the story, she and her dad have identical lunchboxes and her Dad had packed a paring knife in his to slice an apple and she took the wrong one. She then got caught up in a random search at school and the knife was found.
While the whole “context of each case” statement means that technically this is not an automatic “zero tolerance” case, it strikes me that that is nonetheless the way it is being treated (either that or there is a whole lot of information being left out here).
I can’t see that this is something that requires criminal charges and suspension for the remainder of one’s senior year, especially if the school system’s policy allowed for some leniency based on context.