I get that schools are really cracking down and have zero tolerance policies for so many things. I get that. But can we please use some common sense? Can we? No? Okay, let's get to this latest story of a student suspended for some ridic reason because of a zero tolerance (i.e., zero common sense) policy. A 13-year-old girl in Attleboro, Massachusetts was suspended from school for bringing a knife onto the property. A butterknife. That she used to cut her fruit. Because she has braces. Roll the insanity.

Seventh grader Morgan LaPlaume has braces (ugh, childhood), so she can't bite into the pear she brought to school, so she brought along a butterknife with her. The vice principal happened to be walking by (isn't that always the way?) as Morgan was trying to slice into her pear -- the butterknife doesn't exactly do the job -- when he saw this weapon of mass non-destruction.

He escorted her to the office and handed her a one-day suspension per policy, since knives are banned from the school in the handbook. Morgan's mom, Rebecca, isn't thrilled. She says Morgan never gets into trouble and that "every child needs to be looked at individually. Every case is different. Not every child is the same."

The mom thinks Morgan should have just gotten a verbal warning, and wants the suspension wiped from her record.

Well, I can see both sides here. Clearly, Morgan had no bad intent. But she did break school policy. It would be easy to ask why Morgan didn't just cut up her pear before she left for school, but perhaps she forgot the rule or didn't even know about the rule (does everyone really read everything in the school handbook?). Not every 13-year-old is still getting her lunch made by momma (who might, gasp, be working in the morning), so it may have been an easy oversight on mom's part too.

One thing children need to learn is rules -- but another, even more important, thing they need to learn is good judgment, and that doesn't always mean following rules down to the letter. That means weighing circumstances with careful thought and analysis -- something that seems sorely lacking in schools sometimes. Of course, parents themselves can be thanked for a lot of this zero tolerance stuff.

That said, it was only a one day suspension, and Morgan did break the rules, so it's a little whiny of mom to complain so much. Morgan's main lesson here might be that life isn't always fair.

Do you think she should have been suspended?

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