Details here. The short version of the story is that a high school girl got her lunch mixed up with her dad’s, because they have matching lunch boxes. Her father had packed a small paring knife in his, so he could eat an apple that day. Now the girl is suspended. No, really.
Via Insty, who remarks
“Bottom line is we want to ensure every child feels safe on our campus.” Not safe from idiots like you, Mr. Moss. Because you’re unwilling to take responsibility for discipline, you formulate and enforce rules that make public schools — and now, particularly, yours — a national joke. From the comments: “Let’s have the students feel safe. How about letting them feel like their entire lives and livelihood aren’t at risk at your institution from an honest mistake. You are ruining this child’s life and future because some bonehead can’t recognize an honest mistake.”
It’s beginning to seem like placing your children in public schools is placing them at unacceptable risk.
UPDATE, THURS. 12/30: An emergency hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. The updates are all filed at the end of this story.
- Is the school district telling the truth that the knife was actually found in this young lady’s purse? And . . . are they mistaken there? Because I’ve had a non-typical lunchbox mistaken for a purse in the past. (My boss, back at Sports Afield: “Why are you putting your purse in the refrigerator?”)
Because even if a school administrator cannot tell that a lunchbox with newfangled styling is a lunchbox and not a purse, the presence of foodstuffs and the absence of a wallet should tip them off.
- Why is the school district continuing to give out apparently misleading statements about the duration of the suspension? Statements like “she’s still enrolled” are obvious attempts to prevaricate.
- If the family went to the media instead of using “the normal appeals process,” why? They might be publicity hounds. On the other hand, they might feel that a school district that continues to refer to a lunchbox as a purse, and disregards the close proximity of a whole apple to a tiny paring knife, is a bit light on its listening skills and can only be reached through the media, if at all.
My mind is open, but I am feeling very skeptical about the school district’s story at this point.
UPDATE II: According to this story (via Instapundit), Miss Smithwick is suggesting that she placed the lunchbox inside her larger tote, which would make the school district’s statement that the knife was “in her purse” technically correct–it appears that she uses an oversized bag to carry books, lunchbox, wallet and all–but an obvious dodge.
UPDATE III: The School Board’s Statement–
Statement from Lee County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss Regarding Ashley Smithwick
This is in response to the media coverage of the alleged long-term suspension of Ashley Smithwick, a student at Southern Lee High School. The facts recited by the media are erroneous and without foundation.
On October 20, 2010, a faculty member at Southern Lee High School discovered a student on campus with marijuana. Based upon information obtained in the interview between school administration and the student in question, a search of several other students, including Miss Smithwick, was promptly conducted. During this search, a 3-inch paring knife was found on the person of Miss Smithwick in her purse. The knife was not found in Miss Smithwick’s lunchbox as reported by her family and the media.
Miss Smithwick has not been long-term suspended from Southern Lee High School. She is currently enrolled as a student at the school. Over two months after the event it is a mystery to us that the Smithwick’s concerns were not brought to our attention by the family through normal appeal procedures prior to going to the press.
Well, it doesn’t seem that “mysterious” to me, since the Board has just publicly accused the entire Smithwick family of lying about this. The school district had damned well better have eyewitness accounts to back up this assertion that the knife was not found in that lunchbox–and the continued use of artful, vague language about the suspension doesn’t make me really hopeful that they’ve got it, either.