I remember being at the airport about 10 years ago and forgetting that I had a pocketknife on me. I always had it on me, and I remembered that I had it as I was going through security. Instead of waiting for the security personnel to find it, I decided I would tell them as soon as I could, so that they wouldn’t think I was trying to sneak it in. I pulled it out of my jacket where I always kept it and gave it to one of the guards. He gasped as if I were holding an explosive device. With eyes wide open and mouth gaping in awe, he unfolded it slowly and showed it to me as if I had never seen it before. “Yeah, it’s my knife. I know what it looks like.”
Thankfully, I didn’t get in trouble. They gave me the option of mailing the knife to myself via the airport post office or allowing them to “hold on to it for me.” I took them up on their offer to let me mail the knife to my address.
Well, things didn’t work out as well for a 16-year-old high schooler in Pittsburgh. He had just been hunting in some woods behind his house before his dad dropped him off at one of his school’s football games. Before he entered the stands, he realized he still had his hunting knife on him. He knew that it was against the rules to have any kind of weapon on school grounds. So, he thought if he just turned it in and was open about it and apologized, he’d be OK. He turned in the knife to a security guard at the game and even accompanied the knife with a signed letter:
“I was in the woods behind my house at my tree stand and forgot to take my knife out of my pocket … came to the game and gave it to the security guard. [signed] David Schaffner III”
Everything seemed fine until the principal found out about this student’s atrocity. The principal approached Schaffner in the stands and ordered him to leave the game. But that wasn’t enough to punish him for his violent behavior and possession of an “assault” weapon on campus grounds. He suspended the boy for 10 days.
And now, Schaffner is facing expulsion from the school later this month. His expulsion hearing is September 27th.
His parents have had to hire an attorney to get the school to reverse their decision. The school district communications director said that they were just doing their jobs:
“[W]hen there’s a weapon, we have to follow the law; that is our responsibility to the community and to our students and staff.”
It would’ve been better for Schaffner to have done and said nothing. They haven’t yet installed metal detectors on the school field or hired security personnel to search all those entering the game. No one knew about the knife except for him. And he had to go and be honest, because he thought that was the right thing to do.
I don’t understand why the parents would hire a lawyer just to get their kid back in that school. If I were in the parents’ position, I wouldn’t let my son go back to that school.