Matthew Whalen, a senior at Lansingburgh Senior High School, says he follows the Boy Scout motto and is always prepared, stocking his car with a sleeping bag, water, a ready-to-eat meal — and the knife, which was given to him by his grandfather, a police chief in a nearby town.
But Lansingburgh High has a zero-tolerance policy, and when school officials discovered that Whalen kept his knife locked in his car, he says, they suspended him for five days — and then tacked on an additional 15 after a hearing.
Got that? 20 days, for a pocketknife in a survival kit locked in his car.
The school district's policy lists "Possessing a weapon" under "examples of violent conduct," which "may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from school."
School district officials did not reply to requests for comment.
Whalen says Macri gave him the longest suspension possible — five school days.
"They gave me the five-day suspension, because that is all a principal can suspend a student for," he said. "And from there, they had a superintendent hearing to see if the superintendent wanted to suspend me for longer.
"But the superintendent wasn't even at the hearing. It was the principal and the athletic director. The vice principal who originally suspended me wasn't even there, and neither was the superintendent. They basically asked me, 'Did you have the knife in your car?' And I said 'Yes, I did.' The meeting was recorded and they told me they were going to play the tape to the superintendent.
"They asked me if I wanted to say anything, and I told them all my accomplishments and what I've done, and the principal even admitted that I had no intent to use the knife, that I had no accessibility to the knife."
But school officials decided to suspend Whalen for an extra 15 days anyway, he said. And unless the decision is changed, he will not be allowed on school grounds until Oct. 21.
And, for the Strong Contender for Cowardice and Idiocy in a School District,
Whalen said he does not know why the 15 days were added, but he said a school district employee told him it was because the school wanted to apply its policies consistently.
"I've been told by someone who works for the district that they had to do it, because if someone else had a knife and they saw that I didn't get a suspension, that it would look bad for the school.
Yeah, God forbid the principal or superintendent have to actually think, or make judgements and decisions; how would school operate if that was the case?
Noted by Insty as 'another idiotic zero-tolerance story'. To say the least.