Knives in Schools: Honor Student Gets Yr. Suspension While Sikh Student Allowed to Carry Dagger

Atiya Haynes is a 17 year old senior honor student at Dearborn Heights High School in Michigan. She rode her bicycle to school and to a job she held. During the summer her grandfather gave her a pocket knife with a 3 ¼ inch blade and told her to carry it with her for protection.

Earlier this month, Haynes was attending a football game at her school when she used a bathroom in one of the school buildings. That’s when Haynes academic life became a tragic nightmare that could ruin her entire future.

Supposedly a school administrator thought they smelled marijuana and was trying to find the source. Haynes’ purse was searched and that’s when the picket knife was discovered in the bottom of her purse. Consequently, the Dearborn Heights District 7 school board has voted to suspend her for the rest of her senior year.

Instead of granting her a second chance for forgetting the pocket knife was in the bottom of her purse, the school board opted to ruin the honor student’s life. I wonder how many members of the school board are women and if they have any clue what’s in the bottom of their purse?

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On the flip side, an elementary school boy in Auburn, Washington has been granted permission to carry a very dangerous dagger with him every day to school. The boy’s parents are Sikh and they approached the school to inform them that their son would be carrying a dagger known as a kirpan under his clothes. The kirpan is supposed to be an important part of the Sikh religion, but it also has a history of being used as an instrument of justice.

The school district said that state and federal guidelines allow for an exception to the zero tolerance weapons ban for the kirpan to be kept under the clothes of the young boy. Not all of the parents at the school are happy about the exception. One volunteer at the school said she would not return until the knife was banned.

School administrators stated:

“That allows them to express their religion without jeopardizing anyone’s feeling of safety. If there are any problems, we will take it to the family, but we don’t expect any.”

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Does that mean the school administrators will allow Christian students to carry their Bibles, pray over their lunch and witness to other students? They are all important parts of their religion, but many schools have banned all three. What about teachers that have been told to take their Bibles off their desks? This is typical that religions other than Christianity get special dispensation while Christians continue to have their rights trampled on.

I don’t know if it made any difference in the different school districts, but Atiya Haynes is black and the boy allowed to carry the dagger to school is not.

So where is the justice in schools’ zero tolerance policies? Why does one school decide to ruin a good student’s entire life for forgetting that a pocket knife is in the bottom of her purse while another school is allowing a boy to carry a dagger that is used to dole out justice and punishment? How can the Washington school officials be so sure that the boy will never pull his kirpan out to show it other kids or to use it if he gets bullied? Can they guarantee that the kirpan will never be used?

Zero tolerance policies lack any common sense. They don’t allow for the fact that humans are not perfect and that we make honest mistakes. I wonder how many of the school board members in Michigan who voted for the year’s suspension have NEVER made an honest mistake or forgotten something in their entire lives? How fair would it be to suspend them from their jobs for a year for committing one minor infraction or forgetting something? What if the next time one of the school board members come up for a job performance review and found themselves suspended for a year because of a minor thing they forgot about? How many of those school board members would like it if the next time they are pulled over by a police officer for any traffic violation if the officer throws the book at them and tells them they have a zero tolerance policy?

The way zero tolerance policies have been carried out in the past few years demonstrates that they have nothing to do with student safety or the well-being of students. They have more to do with the socialist agenda of forcing students to get used to complying with strict government rules and regulations without any exceptions or concern for the overall impact on the person.

I’m not against setting up rules and regulations to help protect students, but they have to be administered with common sense and understanding. Isn’t common sense part of the educational process? It used to be.