See, it’s crap like this — in the news on a daily basis — that confirms my intent to home school our son when he’s ready for school:
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 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.
Bandermann told The Daily Caller that he was frustrated over Hucko’s insistence “that I risk my job and go get him out of the program for a one-day suspension all over a Swiss Army knife.”
The multi-tool instrument did not present a threat, Bandermann believes.
“I went to the very same trip when I was a child at the same school, and I had a very similar Swiss Army knife,” he said. “In fact, most of the kids did.”
For crap’s sake — it’s a Swiss Army knife. If a boy can’t take a Swiss Army knife (or any pocket knife, really) on a camping trip, why even manufacture pocket knifes anymore. If a kid is seriously intent on hurting other kids while out on a camping trip, he can use a rock , a sharp stick, a frying pan, or just about anything else he can get his hands on.
I got my first pocket knife, a gift from my grandfather, when I was 7 years old. It was my most cherished possession, and I carried it with me everywhere. To include school. At recess, me and my buddies would compare our knives, and trade them for other childhood treasures, like marbles, slingshots, and baseball cards.
We never went on stabbing sprees.
I already have the knife I’ll give to my son as his first knife (a Böker canoe-style double-bladed pocket knife made in Solinger, Germany in the early 1950s), probably around the time he turns 7-8 years old. And rather than be punished by some pantie-wetting Liberal teacher and administrators at a mediocre elementary school, his knife will be part of the curriculum: how to sharpen and care for his knife; how to use it safely to whittle wood, cut food safely (I use one to this day to cut an apple anytime I eat one), and other useful chores for which a pocketknife comes in handy.
And some day, long from now, I’ll also give him my Swiss Army knife — the one with my name stamped in it; a gift from a good friend about 10 years ago when he visited the Swiss Army knife factory in Ibach, Switzerland. Along with all my other knifes and guns.