Regarding the Sept. 21 story "Fox Chapel Student Won't Face Expulsion":
As a retired teacher I feel that I must respond to the way that the Fox Chapel Area School District has treated the 16-year-old student who was honest enough to turn in a hunting knife before entering a football game. On the one hand the district showed good judgment in not expelling the student; at the same time I feel that he should not have received a 10-day suspension. His honesty and timeliness of turning in the knife before entering the game should be applauded.
Having worked with high school students for 35 years in the Carlisle Area School District (in Central Pennsylvania) I can say with certainty that a 16-year-old would have a difficult time understanding all of the details of school law; indeed many of the adult employees cannot know every nuance of these policies.
I was fortunate to work in a school district where cooler heads prevailed and these kinds of misunderstandings would never have made the news. A student willingly turning in a knife before a game would have been congratulated in Carlisle instead of receiving punishment. But, as in the case in Fox Chapel, not all school districts use the same level-headed judgment.
In a similar case last year in York County, a 5-year-old kindergarten student faced expulsion for simply forming his hand into the shape of a gun, pointing to other students, and saying, "Bang, bang." This in the name of "zero tolerance"!
High school students need to be encouraged to do what is right and to be congratulated when they do so, not receive a 10-day suspension simply because the school administration is afraid of appearing weak on its "zero tolerance" policy.