Swiss Army Knife At Camp

This Zero-Tolerance crap has totally jumped the shark!

A fifth-grader in Cupertino, California was suspended and threatened with expulsion for bringing a small Swiss Army knife on a school-sponsored, science-oriented camping trip.

In early April, Braden Bandermann’s class set off on Garden Gate Elementary School’s annual, week-long pilgrimage for fifth-graders to the Marin Headlands, just north of San Francisco.

Before leaving, Braden did what any Silicon Valley 10-year-old faced with the perils of nature might do: He packed his trusty Swiss Army knife. As any camper knows, the multi-tool device is nothing if not versatile. Braden’s particular model contains a can opener, tweezers, a toothpick, a nail file, a tiny pair of scissors and a small blade.

The little blade landed the boy in big trouble.

“They called me,” explained Tony Bandermann, Braden’s father. “They said, ‘You have to come and get him. He has a weapon. He needs to be suspended or possibly expelled.’”

At the time, the elder Bandermann was on a business trip in Sacramento, roughly 100 miles away. His wife, Braden’s stepmother, was at the camp with Braden, but they had arrived by bus and had no private transportation. (Braden’s mother was also unable to go to the camp so that he could serve a suspension.)

The school principal, Brandi Hucko, allegedly wanted Bandermann to rush to the site of the science camp, pick Braden up for a one-day suspension and then deliver him back to camp.

I went to a nature camp when I was a teen. One day I got a nasty splinter in the woods, and it was a Swiss Army knife owned by one of the Councillors that saved me from further agony. When you’re in the woods lots of little tools can be helpful. Oh god forbid some student have a KNIFE!

I think this could all be put to an end when ridiculous expulsions, suspensions, and punishments are responded to by having the responsible principal horse-whipped in the town square.

I can see having special school rules against “Weapons” and certainly rules against fighting, but seriously, I read too many stories about students suspended for pen knives, or butter knives, or even toy soldiers or drawings of guns.

A good horse-whipping will sort this out, methinks!

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5 Responses to Swiss Army Knife At Camp

  1. Geodkyt says:

    Keep in mind, in many (most?) states, the school administration has had their responses limited by state law.

    For example, Virginia state law makes possession of a weapon (including knives UNDER 3″ blade length*, but excluding school supplies or other things authorized by the school, unless they are used as a weapon) by a student a mandatory 365 day expulsion unless the school board determines there are “special circumstances”.

    * Blades over 3″ on school grounds, even possessed by adults who work there or have CHPs, are a criminal offence (even if not concealed) and calling the police is mandatory, unless possession falls into strictly limited categories — possession of a knife customarily used for work by someone doing work on school grounds, specifically authorized by the administration (such as a historical presentation), etc. When I got on the school board, I had to replace my daily carry knives with smaller ones. (I like big folders, not so much for the blade size ans the handle.

  2. Jake says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how it’s possible to go camping without a pocket knife. The concept just does not compute.

  3. Divemedic says:

    In many cases, you can blame lawyers for this. Any time there are exceptions to the rule, there is room for a lawyer to bring a lawsuit. The only way to avoid suits is to have a zero tolerance policy.

    Another source of things like this is public employees trying to keep their jobs. It is more likely to cause one to lose their job if you allow exceptions. It is easier to tell everyone no. This is an unfortunate side effect of people screaming “fire him” every time a public employee makes a decision. So instead, they strictly and without leeway enforce the rules as written. Then we the public wonder why no one in public employ is capable or willing to make a decision.

    • Rob Crawford says:

      They never were capable of making decisions, which is why all the calls to fire them. All they’ve done is added “just following orders” to their list of crimes.

  4. Roadkill says:

    Knives are a basic necessary tool for human survival. For the sin of hating such an important tool, such persons should be declared an enemy to our species and should be exterminated like the vermin they are. In my mind, not carrying a cutting tool is the epitome of idiocy.

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