December 18th, 2007
01:33 PM ET

10-year-old arrested for using knife in school lunchroom?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A 10-year-old Florida girl was arrested for using a knife to cut her food. She didn't threaten anyone. She didn't attack anyone. She used the knife to cut a piece of steak she brought from home for her lunch.

Yet school officials at Sunrise Elementary school in Ocala, Florida called police, had her arrested and she was taken away to juvenile detention.

The girl now reportedly faces a felony charge for possessing a weapon on school property along with a 10-day suspension.

Apparently it was teachers who called the sheriff after the 5th grader used the knife in the cafeteria to cut the meat. When cops showed up, they couldn't reach her parents on the phone so they arrested the girl and took her to the county's juvenile assessment center.

School officials acknowledge that she didn't do anything wrong with the knife, just used it to cut her meat. But they say it doesn't matter what the knife was used for, that the district has "zero tolerance for weapons on school grounds." I wonder if that applies to forks, too. These are morons.

Of course no one will admit they may have overreacted. The sheriff's office points the finger at the school, saying that once they're notified they have to take some kind of action. I guess taking the knife away from the girl never occurred to them.

The girl's uncle says she's been very upset. He says they understand that measures need to be taken to make sure people don't come to school with weapons, but his niece is "a really good kid."

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Here’s my question to you: Is it going too far when a 10-year-old girl is arrested for bringing a steak knife to school to eat her lunch?

Larry from Redondo Beach, California writes:
I think the problem here is not zero tolerance, but zero common sense among other things. And the wrong person got hauled away by the sheriff. Should have been the teacher who called them.

Ernie from Ocala, Florida writes:
Jack, As a resident of Ocala, Florida, I can qualify your assertion that these people are morons, this town is full of them. That’s why I bought a boat, so I can escape this hick town once in a while.

Dora writes:
Jack, get real. We have at least 320 million people living in this country. We can't make a different rule for every person. The rule is: no weapons on school grounds or in school. That's the rule. I am surprised that a complainer like you encourages people to break rules.

Brian from Jersey City, New Jersey writes:
Jack, School officials have obviously confused a weapon with a utensil. Perhaps they should look up the difference in a dictionary or encyclopedia, I mean, you know, that being a school and all.

Cheryl writes:
What were the parents of the 10 year-old thinking? Why didn't they cut the steak at home and send it in the proper container with the girl to eat at lunchtime? Were the police wrong? Yes, a little too drastic, but the stupidity of the parents surpasses any measures taken by the school or police!

Brad writes:
Mr. Cafferty, You made this story up, right? No one running a school in America is truly this stupid... are they?

Joseph writes:
Zero tolerance for weapons? Something isn't a weapon until a person uses it in a harmful way. Desks, books, even pencils and pens can all be used as weapons. So should students go to a school in an empty padded room?

Brittany from Alabama writes:
We can install video cameras, metal detectors and hire as many police as we want to keep our schools safe but if someone is insane enough to wreak havoc they will find a way. A ten year-old using a knife to eat lunch is not a threat. Where do these idiots get the idea that arresting a kid is better than simply taking it away from her? We are constantly pumping false fear into society.

Bruce from Vienna, Virginia writes:
Regarding the 10-year-old arrested for cutting meat with a knife in school: if this isn't a case of "Go vegetarian and nobody gets hurt," I don't know what is.

Pat writes:
Forget the knife, I have a problem with a 10-year-old having steak for lunch at school! I don't have steak for lunch at home.

Maybe Jack will read yours tomorrow.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. Erik

    One word "YES!"

    December 18, 2007 at 1:56 pm |
  2. Rich, McKinney Texas

    Zero tolerance for weapons in this school apparently means nothing considered as a weapon which a steak knife could be considered as just that. I suggest that if the parents are not happy with the policy then they do something to change it. I am sure had any other child had a steak knife that day they too would have been detained and subsequently arrested. What would have happened had that 10 year old buried that knife up to the handle in another kids chest because the other kid took their milk? We would not be having this question asked now would we?

    December 18, 2007 at 2:09 pm |
  3. Allen L Wenger

    The real problem here is "zero tolerance". Administrators set up zero tolerance because they don't want to use common sense or make decisions. The zero tolerance policy makes all the decisions for these poor administrators. If an administrator can't explain why he had a teen ager arrested with a switchblade, but didn't arrest a 10 year old with a steak knife; maybe he/she shouldn't be making those judgement calls. Let's go back to common sense and get rid of zero tolerance.

    December 18, 2007 at 2:13 pm |
  4. Aware

    I think the school did the right thing! Jack. If the school allow student to bring steak knife, we are giving freedom of violence in school especially to gangsters.

    December 18, 2007 at 2:17 pm |
  5. grayfox


    December 18, 2007 at 2:25 pm |
  6. Bill

    I don't think a 10 year old child should have been arrested. But her parents should have been called in and made aware of what a child is allowed to have on their person. And if it happens again the child will be suspended and the parents arrested. I don't think no child should be carrying a steak knife or any other type of knife to school no matter what it is for. – Bill, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    December 18, 2007 at 2:37 pm |
  7. Pam from Virginia Beach


    December 18, 2007 at 2:44 pm |
  8. ginger

    yes, it is going too far, but I guess I'm glad she was not tasered.

    December 18, 2007 at 2:51 pm |
  9. Pat

    Forget the knife, I have a problem with a 10 year old having steak for lunch at school!! I don't have steak for lunch at home, fur (&*&'s sake...!

    December 18, 2007 at 2:54 pm |
  10. William

    Yes, you can't idiot proof the world. Next they will not allow lunches to be brought to school due to concerns of bomb or hidden weapons. Where has common sense gone?

    December 18, 2007 at 3:11 pm |
  11. Patricia

    Wouldn't you just know it? Teachers acting like psycho's!!! Parents are going to clean-up with LOT'S OF MONEY FROM THE POLICE DEPARTMENT & THE SCHOOL SYSTEM!!!! I love it!!!

    December 18, 2007 at 3:13 pm |
  12. Jenny from New York

    Of course it's going too far. And now that they DID take her knife away for cutting her steak, and she's very upset, they shouldn't be surprised if she comes back with the knife and an attitude. And who could blame her?

    December 18, 2007 at 3:14 pm |
  13. Tina

    What baloney. Some schools don't even allow plastic knives cause it might be used as a weapon. We are living in a world where there is supposedly a boogie man hiding behind the bushes in each housing addition. We need to stand back and take stock what is the difference between good and evil.

    December 18, 2007 at 3:18 pm |
  14. W B in Las Vegas

    can you say "LAWSUIT" boys and girls?

    December 18, 2007 at 3:36 pm |
  15. Terry O'Flaherty

    Yes its going too far. However to avoid this confrontation in the future cut the steak at home. Apparently this school district is very serious about this issue.

    December 18, 2007 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Scott

    the overreaction of the school is a example of political correctness run amuk, there was a simple exsplanation in this case, grow the hell up. did they charge her with failure to chew her food too?
    personall some one needs to put the school teacher ans police involvedin time out.

    December 18, 2007 at 3:43 pm |
  17. bob klepak

    Your durn tootin, it says a lot. It says that her parents can afford steak. They must be those War profiteers or exporters of jobs or at the very least those parents that have an illegal ailien to cook steaks for them.

    December 18, 2007 at 3:55 pm |
  18. James S. Lenon

    Unfortunately, in Florida and other states, 10 year old children are attacking other children with knives, guns, and any other weapon they can find. The problem is not how to effectively ban weaponry but how to prevent physical violence by single students and by gangs of students.
    Since we can no longer apply effective discipline in schools lest we damage someone's self-esteem, the only answer is to remove students from the schools. That will, at least, help ensure Bush's " No child left educated." rules are met.

    December 18, 2007 at 4:10 pm |
  19. john, miami

    Dear Jack:

    I'm sick and tired of listening to the whining and moaning from students and

    parents and schools. doesn't the steak have any say in this?

    December 18, 2007 at 4:13 pm |
  20. Charlie Murphy

    Of course it is Jack. Post-Columbine who knows what a 10 year old could do. Besides what food would be needed to require a steak knife? What is the cafeteria feeding these kids? What is the girl's parents packing in her lunch? There has to be some responsibility to the adults in this child's life. You would think the classic peanut butter and jelly wouldnt require said untensils. Stick to the basics, that way 10 year olds won't come to school needing a steak knife.

    December 18, 2007 at 4:17 pm |
  21. mike

    Jack, this only show that even a person with a college degree, can still act and think like a bonehead. If a child bought a steak knife to school to only use during the course of her meal, and did not cause any other acts with the knife, then common sense would tell you that she only brought the snife for that reason. I think to much is made of this. I think that simply problems, should be solved with simply solitions. A letter to the parents, that the child can not bring steak snives/ eating utensil to school would have handled this small problem. Next Problems

    December 18, 2007 at 4:18 pm |
  22. Cecilia

    I think the parents should go back to school to learn a few things of where things are now. And yes, the school overreacted. As an adult, though, I would not allow any kid to carry a knife, not necessarily to avoid trouble like this, but also the notion of a knife in kids' hands is not palatable outside my dining room or my vision.

    December 18, 2007 at 4:23 pm |
  23. Dan

    Back in the day, when I was a school age punk, area news papers would punish 'parents' when their children mis-behaved in public. If a child was caught vandalizing or drinking and driving the parent's name was published in the local news paper right along with the name of the 'misguided brat' in question. This emarassed the parents into taking and interest in their child's behavior.

    One of the parents should have known this was happening. They also should have known it was against school rules. Detain the child if you want, but if I'm the D.A. handling this case I take a good hard look at the parents.


    Black Hawk, CO

    December 18, 2007 at 4:25 pm |
  24. Jan

    Well, lets just go back to caveman days and use our fingers to eat. The schools, laws and government are just getting out of hand. Teenage boys and girls, with hormones running rampant, turning the boys into sexual preditors for being normal. Kindergartners being arrested for hugging or a little peck to be friendly. Smokers in their own home, being cited because a neighbor can smell the smoke. Pretty soon, our government will put cameras in our homes and monitor our daily lives. There is no end to this unless we put our foot down and stop the insanity.

    December 18, 2007 at 4:28 pm |
  25. Patsy

    I can'r believe a parent isn't checking that bag before the child leaves home. Just to make sure the child has everything they need for school. And to check on the things they don't need. But steak for lunch? Hummm. I wonder if she also took a plate to cut it on. Something isn't right with this picture. But I think all weapons should be barred from schools. And this includes steak knives.

    December 18, 2007 at 4:37 pm |
  26. Bert

    She's lucky she didn't get mugged for the steak.

    December 18, 2007 at 4:42 pm |
  27. northofdenali

    John in Miami – thanks for the best laugh of the day so far!

    December 18, 2007 at 4:46 pm |
  28. Jackson Bray

    No they did the right thing. She could have went on a mass stabbing rampage and killed 40 students.

    /sarcasm off

    If they are that worried, they should just take it away and give it back when school is over or have their parents pick it up after school. Arrested? I am surprised the police would even bother.

    December 18, 2007 at 4:53 pm |
  29. Cody Weber

    The problem is that when the choice is left up to debate that is exactly what will happen. Do i think that the girl intended to use it on her classmates? No i believe that she brought the knife to do exactly what she said it was for which was eat her lunch; however, that does not change the fact that she still brought a weapon to school. It may not be the best way to approach the problem but it is the one that leads to the least debate and therefore the most sucessful. Next thing you know people are going to be trying to bring steak knives onto planes for their dinners.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:01 pm |
  30. john

    Yes, it reflects the incredibly poor judgment of our education system and we wonder why it does so poorly compared to other industrialized nations. Teachers think it is OK to arrest this girl, yet they scream foul when it comes No Child Left Behind testing. Maybe the next time a teacher passes a child when the child really didn’t pass the subject the teacher should be charged with fraud. Oh and let me guess, the Sheriff officers showed up attired in swat gear with big 911 patches on their sleeve and they too obviously struggled to find a resolution other than locking up the little kid. I am convinced if we remove all warning and danger labels from things the “stupid people” problem we have in our country will take care of itself.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:03 pm |
  31. Robert Carothers

    This is absolutely absurd. What do they think this little girl is going to do with a little steak knife? What a stupid lot of school officials and police.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm |
  32. gabrielle hart

    What has happened to the people in this country? Have we lost ALL common sense? Have we forgotten to think rationally? The teachers should be dismissed from their jobs due to their incredible stupidity!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm |
  33. rexsolomon

    It just confirms what everyone already knows:
    We are, and have been living in a police state since 2001.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm |
  34. Nick

    Jack, everybody in this country needs to calm down. This is ridiculous. It's one thing to confiscate the knife, but to arrest a 10 year old girl and put her through hell just because she needed to cut her lunch? What is going on in this country? We've become such a paranoid irrational society of overreacting idiots. It's so sad.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm |
  35. shev

    seriously come on, 10 day suspension and had to go to a juvenile center. I think thats more than what a fifth grader needs to handle over a piece of steak. Do they ban plastic one's too?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm |
  36. AL


    December 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm |
  37. jim

    My question is....did she get salt, and pepper sprayed to go along with the steak knife arrest? What's next & when is all the silliness going to end?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm |
  38. Dan in NJ


    John stole my answer: YES

    P.S. – If I could make the font larger I would.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm |
  39. suzie from atlanta, GA

    On the face of it, it would seem so. Arrest is probably going too far. And of course you are correct: taking the knife away would have been more than enough, and a good way to teach the students how to oversee their parents, so they do not do stupid things like send them to school with a steak knife.

    However, with all the violence we are seeing at schools today, I can understand why the school overreacted. Plus it sounds like their intent was not to have the kid arrested, but rather a result of the parents not being available.

    Besides, shouldn’t the parent who packed this lunch have used their common sense and at least CALLED the school and ask about their policy? In fact, couldn’t they have cut up the meat before packing it? My kids are in their 30’s and frankly it would never have crossed my mind to send them to school with a knife. If anyone needed to be arrested, it should have been the parent who clearly has no brains, and the charge should have been “too stupid for words”.

    Let’s not forget that schools are not parents, and the parents must have some accountability when it comes to their children. This whole mess could have been avoided by the parent using their brain. Now the kid is upset, the school is upset, and the parents are upset, but the fact remains that the parents are responsible for this, not the school. Do we want our kids safe at school? Then we need to work with the schools to make that a “given”, and that means being responsible for our behavior too. In this case it was a good kid, but had it been a crazy kid, and someone had been stabbed, what would your opinion have been?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm |
  40. Alvis

    As those of us who use our online-speak would say "WTF?!"

    Seriously, they should be looking at how easily the child brought the knife into school, held on to it until lunch, and then used it for her steak knife. She should have been told "You can't bring these things to school" and had the knife taken away. Calling the police? That's just a waste of time, money, and this poor girl.... she definitely did not need to go through all of this!

    Sparta, TN

    December 18, 2007 at 5:11 pm |
  41. MK

    Zero tolerance is zero brains in most cases- does common sense have no place in our society anymore?


    If she cut herself (she is, after all, only 10), can the school then charge her with assault with a deadly weapon?


    December 18, 2007 at 5:11 pm |
  42. Joseph

    Zero tolerance for weapons? Something isn't a weapon until a person uses it in a harmful way. Desks, books, even pencils and pens can all be used as weapons. So should students goto a school in an empty padded room?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:11 pm |
  43. Jake

    Yes...Way too far. Next time have the girl trade her piece of steak for a couple of tacos from all the illegal aliens kids that are crowding our schools. No knife needed to eat a taco...Jake

    December 18, 2007 at 5:11 pm |
  44. Joey

    It's way too far. Did the teachers really feel threatened by a little ten-year old girl actually using their manners and using silverware, cutting the food with a knife, as instructed by the parents? Good lord, talk about double standards here. I guess when I have kids (I'm 19), I don't think I'll teach my kids how to use silverware so that they won't get in trouble with their teachers.

    Good lord, society's gone way too soft these days.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:11 pm |
  45. Face

    I saw why not have the steak and eat it too?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:11 pm |
  46. Rob Arizona

    Florida is the expression of the Republican Party's current path.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:11 pm |
  47. josh

    Has it gotten so out of hand that, it has come to 10 year olds being arrested? Maybe we should just start putting plastic in schools if they are so worried.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:11 pm |
  48. Mary

    Common sense? Sense is NOT common. Poor kid....madness....wake UP, America!!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:11 pm |
  49. Glenn

    Did anyone think about just taking the knife and then having the parents come in after school? I think you hit it just right. The idiots would have to think. Way over reacting!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  50. Alan

    First off, wow. I can understand if the teaching staff would take the knife away, escort the student to the office, and then question her as to why she had the knife with her lunch. To take it as far as the Country Sheriff walking her out of the building in shackles and taking her to the station for processing is a bit over the top. If an assailent wanted to, they could grab a butter knife used for bread in the cafeteria and attack with that. Again, I feel that the procedures taken was a little over the top.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  51. Balaji

    This has got to be going overboard no? Do not the people that had the 10yr old girl arrested have kids of their own? I have an 11yr old and he would be shocked and terrified to have been arrested for bringing a knife to school to cut a steak.

    It's plain stupid that the school administrators didn't consider the situation that she used in the lunch room on her food and not to threaten a kid in the hallway. How about a note to the parent and a stern warning the first time for a rational response to the situation?

    Give me a break!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  52. Larry

    I think the problem here is not zero tolerance, but zero common sense among other things. And the wrong person got hauled away by the Sheriff. Should have been the teacher who called them.
    Redondo Beach, CA.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  53. Fran

    To quote Voltaire

    "Common sense is not so common"

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  54. R L Guthrie

    It is absolutely stupid. The poor girl, bless her heart.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  55. Susan Hoffman

    Where were the girl's parents? If the school has a zero tolerance policy, which I assume the parents had been made aware of, why would they send steak in her lunch which requires a knife? What's wrong with a sandwich?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  56. Lloyd


    I thought justice was supposed to be dispensed with wisdom? Apparently just because you are an educator does not mean you have wisdom. This is ludicrous and ridiculous on behalf of everyone involved.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  57. dora_rice

    Jack get real. We have at least 320 Million people living in this country. We can't make a different rule for every person. The rule is, no weapons on schoolgrounds or in school. That's the rule. I am surprised that a complainer like you encourages people to break rules.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  58. john_again

    If she was using a spoon for her creamed potatoes, would she of be charged with using a Weapon of Mashed Potatoes.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  59. Ben

    Lets make a new law that when common sense is not applied the over reacting idiot that call the cops goes to jail for being STUPID!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  60. clarence

    No comment...But this is going to far to arrest a ten year old girl...

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  61. ann

    As a schoolteacher, I question the capacity of the teachers at that school to have common sense. Taking the knife away until she leaves school grounds and/or calling her parents is reasonable. Arresting her is not. Using school resources does not mean calling the cops on a student who did not make any threats. If school staff can't take care of things themselves, the responsibility lays on our already-strained law enforcement, who could probably have been doing something much more productive in that town.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  62. adolf

    shes lucky they didnt tazer her 30 or 40 times!!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  63. Allen

    School officials are being indocrinated in colleges in the fine art of paranioa and fear.... You are correct to use the name "moron" to their behavior... These teachers, and now the police, are acting like spoiled brats in adult uniforms.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm |
  64. Tanya

    I think that it is not going to far. She may have been bringing to use to cut her food, but it takes one person to say that they are bringing it for that reason, and to use it as a weapon.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  65. Jean Larsen

    Being a parent of 4 children I understand the need for safety in our schools. Here is another case of a knee jerk reaction. Taking the knife away would have been sufficient. Apparentally, this child made no threats to anyone.We can take knives away but how come we can't keep the sexual predetors out of the schools.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  66. DOUG

    In concert with the rest of the Florida mentality, they should give her the death penalty!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  67. ERICK

    In the world call perfect I would say yes... BUT... If she got into a fight later that day and used the knife we wouldn't be asking this question. I perfect world we wouldn't need metal detectors at courthouses either.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  68. Liz

    We have nothing better to do that arrest school children eating their lunch with utensils. Apparently it isn't enough to take the knife away. Too bad she wasn't cutting up the Constitution – that would have been ok. Or maybe torturing fellow classmates. Are George Bush and Dick Cheney allowed to use steak knives? I think we should be a little more concerned about that.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  69. Ryan

    Think of the problems this girl will have when she is older and looks back at this situation. It is outrageous!!! If a knife is a weapon what else in the school luch room is....pop cans, plastic forks and spoons, or even lunchboxes. Extremely bad publicity for this school...SHAME!!!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  70. Mark

    Stop zero tolerance and go to commence tolerance save country from the crazy people in our school system.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  71. Paul D. Buck

    Obviously a clear-cut case deserving capital punishment. How are these vicious criminals going to learn if we do not make examples of those lawless individuals that flout our laws? Executing this child after a couple of days of torture ought to get the message out that criminal and lawless behavior is only allowed it you are a member of good standing in the Bush administration.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  72. Liz

    Yes, and these people are suppose to be the educated and the educators? I'm afraid.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  73. Brent, Kalamazoo MI

    Too far, absolutely not. If she had taken it to school and stabbed someone we would be complaining about the exact opposite. She hasn't been sentenced yet, just charged. Let the court look at the case and decide the punishment. Bravo for the school making an example the first time. A ten year old should know better.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  74. Jay Garrett

    With millions already incarcerated in America, it seems reasonable, using current thinking, to start going after deviant ten-year old girls since they pose a future threat to domestic security in this country.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  75. Mike From St. George

    Last time I checked, pencils were quite sharp and could be used as a weapon. Should we take those away from the elementary schools?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  76. Cheire

    Yes it's going to far, can't common sense come into play. We all have it. Ok, so the knife shouldn't have been on school grounds, but that's the parents fault not the childs. I think the officals are taking it too far to actually charge this little girl with a felony for possessing a weapon on school property, my God people is this what it's coming to? I guess there's only black and white in today's system, instead of shades of gray.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  77. Bernice Lenahan

    Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame: that's what's behind all of these ridiculous incidents. The teachers/principals get theirs; the security guards get theirs; the cops get theirs; the self-righteous parents who convinced everyone that all of our kids are evil and we, the adults, must be protected from them get theirs. We are all at the mercy of bimbos from Congress to the local school boards who have passed more laws than Abraham has descendants. STOP!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! Use some common sense.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  78. David

    Jack you guys miss the point. What is a "steak" knife to that young lady could be a weapon in the hands of a class mate. And, zero tolerance is zero tolerance. Besides, what parent in their right mind would let a child go to school with such a knife. Are they too lazy to cut the meat up into bite size amounts or do they live on Mars?

    When a tragedy strikes and a youngster is hurt, you are all over it asking how could that happen. In today's world, steak knives belong in the kitchen not in a back pack.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  79. Eric

    Is it to much to ask that the teachers be removed due to incompetence?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  80. annie


    If adults, and educators and police officers no less, cannot act with reasonable judgment in a case like this, we need to rethink zero tollerance NOW. Can you imagine how terrified that little girl must have been being hauled off to jail with strangers and without her parents!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  81. Brian

    Absolutely, it is going to far.

    The main problem, that is seen not only in this instance but many others, is that in recent years our society has given into the politics of fear.

    We cannot insulate ourselves against every possible contingency and live in a free society. If we aren't careful about electing our politicians, we will be in a police state soon.

    This is just one more example of that coming to fruition.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  82. Drew

    Yes, this was a big over-reaction.

    I am amazed that the school administrators didn't simply take the knife away and hold it until the parents come.

    I used to cook steak, rice and a potato for lunch and bring a knife and fork to my workplace – I suppose I should have been shown "zero tolerance", as well, even though I have a clean record, and am a good citizen.

    Our police administrators really need to exercise better judgement. It is too easy to veer off into over-reaction when common sense isn't developed.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  83. James Dowaliby

    Not so fast, folks. Many of us with children who find that a classmate has brought a knife to school. Sometimes it is to cut a little something at lunch. Other times it is a pocket-knife. And sometimes it is a switch-blade. This is a very slippery slope and a sticky wicket to boot.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  84. Curt

    Hi Jack, would it be going to far as it sounds like a witch hunt in Salem with the enforcement from the government?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  85. Karl

    Just another example of "Common Sense" not being all that common. Florida, hmm, isn't that the state that gave us George W. Bush, seven years ago? I rest my case.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  86. Elizabeth

    Well, Jack, I honestly don't see what the issue is. If these people are so worried about violence and weapons in school then I think that they should get rid of everything in a school that could possibly be used as a weapon; including: pens, pencils, books, etc. The kick of it is that if it had been a plastic kinife they probably wouldn't have said a word. This is a disgusting display of paranoia, after all she is 10-years-old!!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  87. Jan Van den Broeck

    Dear Jack,
    What happened with the 10-year old girl is another symptom of moral decay threatening American society. The more people feel unsure and feel uncapable of taking moral decisions themselves, the more they tend to blindly rely on authority. Indeed a bad sign.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |


    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  89. Kay Thompson

    I suppose it never dawned on anyone at the school to take the knife, cut up the girl's steak, and then lock up the knife? No, probably not. Sounds much to much like common sense to me. Heaven forbid someone should actually take a stand and use common sense these days. Yet another reason why the rest of the world thinks we're so ridiculous.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  90. stan from Maine

    The knife in question can be a weapon...serrated edges no less.The child should have been detained in school until the parents came to pick her up. The parents should have been interviewed, reprimanded and possibly fined. If the steak was her lunch that she took to school, it should have been cut before she left home. The school had to do something....zero tolerance is probably necessary. I don't blame the child...assuming proper interviewing techniques determined that she was absolutely innocent and meant no harm.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  91. Christoph Kelsey

    This story is ridiculous. To what degree can we codify such things? Is a steak knife a weapon in and of itself or only when it's used in an act of violence? The latter, of course. Or should we start banning convicted felons from having cutlery...er, weapons...in their homes after release?


    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  92. Chub Conner

    Jack; You are right. Those folks are nuts! What in the world has happened to common sense and reasonableness in our actions?

    Again, too much government being administered by political puppets who have forgotten that the forest consists mainly of trees that reflect strength and longivity, not scattered animal dung.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  93. Tamara, Maryland

    If there ever was a case for a warning, this is it. She's a "good kid" who didn't do anything inappropriate with the knife, but she should be sternly warned to never bring a knife to school again. Why? Because once anyone else knows she has the knife, it could end up in someone else's hands, someone not so "good."

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  94. Jim Lundy, New York

    Who sends their kid to school with left over steak anyway? In the 60s we didn't need knives to cut our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! What's this world coming to? What would school officials have done if she had brought in pliers to crack open her lobster claws? I guess the only child left behind was me.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm |
  95. Deniese

    YES, I think it is going way too far to arrest the child for bringing a steak-knife which she used JUST for her lunch. Since there is zero-tolerance for any weapons on school grounds, they should have asked her to place the knife in her lunch-box and taken her to the office to call her parents. An arrest was un-necessary in this case.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  96. Joseph

    If the school would just require students to eat cookies and potato chips for lunch they wouldn't need eating utensils. This is a child who actually brings good food to school and is barred from eating. Also I work closely with people involved in juvenile justice and a school overreacting is not new. More children are put in the juvenile justice system because of ridiculous things like this than any other reason.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  97. Tiago Oliveira

    Good evening,

    I believe this country is in a PANIC! People can no longer think before acting. No need at all for a child to go to jail over a knife. It amazes me that an adult there didn't realize this.

    We should all wish for health, peace, honesty and more education for 2008.


    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  98. Dean

    Of course its going to far to arrest a 10 year old girl for cutting her food before eating it.

    Especially in Florida, where their recent law allowing people with GUNS to shoot someone who has "made them feel affraid" it appears no further justification is required to shoot someone with a gun in Florida, just be SCARED of the person.

    They have their priorities screwed up in Florida.

    P.S... tourists beware if you visit florida, if your looks make someone "feel affraid" they may shoot you, and state law will absolve them of legal consequences.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  99. T.W. Ruess

    A Bowie knife is a weapon, meant to be used as a weapon. A steak knife is not a weapon. It is a tool, a piece of flatware used to make food edible.
    How long will this go on, and charging a 10 year old with a felony.....

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  100. Tom

    It's time to take away school kids books so they don't get paper cuts. Then we have to pull out their fingernails so they can't use them as weapons.

    I'm surprised they even let her eat steak. Aren't they worried about clogging her arteries?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  101. Bernard

    Jack, the knife that the girl brought to the school does not look like a steak knife as it is much longer. Also, a butter knife could have done the job for her and she can always get it from the cafeteria. She should be detained and the parents should be called in for reprimand.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  102. Ted Minnard

    Without question, over the top. What's next, pencils and compasses, and hey, that protractor has some real sharp edges too...and OMG, what would the school do if the little girl had made threatening moves with her Weekly Reader to papercut someone? This is a case of an utter lack of common sense that get elevated into a really stupid ignorance demonstration on how not to handle a non-existent situation. And the local police?....evidently the Florida sun is too much for them to prevent brain scorching.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  103. Ed

    It's gone to far but you can't blame the teachers or police for doing their job. We need some deregulation and freedom for individuals to do the right thing. Ron Paul offers us that across the board.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  104. Jason

    This is absurd. I understand keeping children safe but this has gone to far. The emotional damage done by this could impact this poor child for a long time. It is time for officals to stop and look at individual situations, not have a stupid zero tollerance policy. I hope that other school leaders learn from this horrible lack of well, common sense.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  105. George in New Mexico

    Well, this could have been avoided if mom or dad had pre-cut the meat…


    The school WAY over reacted as did the Sheriff’s Department. Is there no longer any discretion allowed out there?

    School officials are idiots for pushing this matter this far. Cut the meat for the child, confiscate the “weapon” and schedule a phone call with the parents.

    Stunned in New Mexico, and the father of 4,


    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  106. Kelly Calvert

    Hi Jack. This 10 year old girl probably should have "pre cut" her steak prior to comming to school to avoid the situation. Unfortunately "apparently" we are responsible enough to cut our own meat in the presence of others!

    Its a shame that we have come to this point. I have to put the blame on gangs, thugs and idiots for creating this environment that we now have our right to cut our meat revoked!


    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  107. Tom

    Good Grief!! I am retired law enforcement and have a degree in education, but all I can say about this situation is that both the sheriff's department and the school administrators must both have degrees in stupidity. Someone should take the stupid knife, let the kid eat lunch and get back to class. Whatever happened to common sense?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  108. Charlie

    Anything could be a weapon, even a pen. Arresting a 10-yr old is way overboard, unless she was threatening someone with the knife. Steak for lunch for a 10 year old is too much anyways. Bad parenting.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:15 pm |
  109. Jasmine

    No, it is not going too far. They MEAN zero tolerance. What if, like some other people have said, she had stabbed someone for one stupid reason or another? Parents shouldn't send kids with sharp steak knives to school, and, instead, cut their meat for them before they leave the house. I hope they get a hold of that kids parents, because I want to know why they didn't just cut her meat before she left the house.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  110. William Perry

    No it is not too far. In fact, the school board should ban pencils and paper as well. Lead poison and paper cuts can be just as dangerous.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  111. James

    I think that the sheriff should have arrested the teachers, principle, and school board for implimenting this brainless policy. Come on folks!. Simply take the knife away, then inform the girl that she should not do it again because teachers can not be trusted with knives.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  112. Christopher

    In a word yes! Is using common sense nowadays really that difficult? May as well get rid of baseball bats, cleats etc., from schools while we're at it.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  113. Patrick Kelly

    An obvious case of out of control control freaks. I say, "Fork 'em"!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  114. Taione "Tony"

    As an educator I understand schools need to make their learning environments as safe as possible, but to arrest a 10 year old for cutting food. Come on. As teachers we tell our students to use common sense in their everyday lives. Maybe we should start practicing what we preach.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  115. Brett

    Yes it is too far, and for what? How do we create responsible children when the well-behaved and intelligent ones are constantly held back by silly rules based on the mistakes of others? And for that matter, should a little girl be trusted less with a steak knife than an adult, who would be far more capable and likely to cause trouble with it?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  116. Lt. al feia, retired

    Jack: I was in law enforcememt for 21 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, working in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, pretty hard areas, etc. This is absurd. There is something called the "Letter of the Law, and the Spirt of the Law," which gives law enforcement discretion in making arrests/citations.
    Give the kid a break and tell the school officials to determine "intent" before they knee-jerk react.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  117. Rich, McKinney Texas

    What the hell ever happened to parents checking their kids stuff before they go to school? Don't the parents have any responsibility anymore? Sorry Jack this day and age with kids killing kids for milk money I can't blame the school for enforcing policy. The policy is in writing for the parents to see and argue if they don't like it. Letting little Billy or Mary go anywhere with a steak knife is stupid in and of itself much less to a public school that you know has a policy against it. Parents just don't want to accept responsibility for what they fail to do anymore when it is much easier to blame the school system and everyone else. I wonder how much of an education the other children were deprived of over these parents stupidity that day?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  118. Dawn

    Who are these teachers who reported her and since when did cutting a piece of meat become so threatening that it warrents a police report? I hope none of them are around when their Christmas turkey is carved...they'll probably call a SWAT team in. Good grief!!!!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  119. Brian M

    Let's act like adults here.... and not the 10-year old. Explain to her the knife is not legal, and replace it with another knife from the cafeteria. Done deal. What has this nation come to?

    I realize the huge responsibility administrators have to prevent violence at the school, and I am not discounting that at all... but Geez, can't you accomplish the same result maturely...without a national/police incident that puts a scar on this young girl's life?

    Use your heads!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  120. Monique

    This sounds just as incredible as when my son was 11 years old and there was a food fight. So happened that a chicken nugget hit an assistant principle and my son was charged with aggravated assault. Terrible thing to put a child through. The police need to get the REAL Criminals not children.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  121. Terry Roche

    You may be right that it wasn't necessary to arrest the girl; but do you know all of the circumstances? Have the students been warned. Have there been other instances that have taken place before to warrant this action? Is this a Special needs student? Is this a disturbed student. If the staff didn't take this action and someone was attacked or injured how would you feel?

    I have been in education for 33 years and times have definitely changed. You are darned if you do and darned if you don't. It is not like it use to be in "easier times". Remember , "if you haven't walked a mile in their shoes"..............................

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  122. Glenn

    Sorry, but this is the parents fault. I'll bet there are plenty of notices in the school rules that parents have to sign each year that say "no knives at school". I'll bet it doesn't say "but steak knives are okay". The common sense was lost when the parents packed that lunch. Everything that happened after that was inevitable.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  123. Jennifer

    I'm a 10 year old girl and I think that the school is going way to far because they should have just told her that shes not allowed to bring a knife to school and take her to the office not take her to jail at ten years of age and they sould have contacted parent and spended her not take her to jail they are going way to far thats what I think

    thank you
    jennifer from kentucky

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  124. Mænníng, from Märsta, Sweden

    Having a zero tolerance rule for weapons is fine, but what confuses me is why no one had the common sense to just take the knife from her, and maybe... I don't know... a plastic one? Or that failing get maybe a teacher could have cut it for her, then taken it away? Or am I just being to basic?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm |
  125. Jordan G.

    The human brain (known universally for its astonishing ability to reason) has just been set back 500 years, and we have the geniuses at Sunrise Elementary to thank for this unexpected move. What dangerous objects are left to ban in schools? Well, I guess it's goodbye to education since soon we will no longer be using pencils, pens, or scissors.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:17 pm |
  126. Herb

    Mr. Murphy, parents can't just send any kind of food to schools anymore because of deadly allergies, especially peanuts. I doubt there's a school in North America that still allows peanut butter sandwiches. Parents have to find alternatives, and it's not easy.

    That said, we're going too far with "weapons". What's next, banning pencils and other school supplies? Pencils are capable of being used as weapons. White-out is poisonous, and staplers can hurt. And what about the hands of the kids? Those are capable of being used to inflict severe physical harm, especially when clenched as a fist. Some day kids won't be learning together.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:17 pm |
  127. Margaret

    Schools can't win of course. Yes it was too uch to arrest her. But, God forbid, if she had stabbed someone with the steak knife, or anything else for that matter, they (the school) would be sued and we would all be saying why did they let that girl have a knife in school.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:17 pm |
  128. Brian

    It is justifiable and understandable to have a "no tolerance for weapons policy" on school grounds. However, the school district has not properly defined and understood the differnce between tool and weapon. A steak knife is a tool, specifically used to cut steak; this is a no brainer. When there is a great number of 10 year olds coming to school with steak knifes as weapons, then they can no longer be considered a tool. Since all school tools (pencils, scissors, books, etc) have the potential to be utilized as weapons are schools going to end up with individually padded cells where students are not allowed to use anything because it can always be utilized as a weapon? I believe this school disrict needs to reassess the difference between tool and weapon as well as the difference between reactive and proactive.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:17 pm |
  129. rich engstrom

    This was a teaching moment. To explain that the girl shouldn't bring a knife to school. Instead they have traumatised the girl.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:17 pm |
  130. Rick Millar in California

    Of course not. I feel so much safer knowing that the kids are eating their lunches with their fingers, not knives (or forks). I'd feel even safer if they took the same utensils away from the school officials who had the 10-year old arrested, since they obviously can't be trusted to know the difference between a weapon and lunch.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:17 pm |
  131. Taione "Tony"

    As an educator I understand schools need to make their learning environments as safe as possible, but to arrest a 10 year old for cutting food. Come on. As teachers we tell our students to use common sense in our everyday lives. Maybe we should start practicing what we preach.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:17 pm |
  132. Shane

    The term "zero tolerance" could just as easily be converted to "zero thought". Administrators want to comer their own butts without actually putting any effort into it. The problem is, we created the problem by coming down ruthlessly on anyone who makes an honest mistake by sueing them for millions. .
    They weren't going too far because they did what the litigation obsessed public forced them to do.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:17 pm |
  133. Meggan

    I don’t think the student should have been arrested. However I do understand the school’s zero tolerance policy.
    The knife should have been confiscated. Additionally, the school could send a memo out to all parents reminding them that their children are not to bring knives to school.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:18 pm |
  134. Claus Gruner

    Jack, this is Forida. The poor girl is lucky not to be tazered by these moronic sheriff's deputies down here. Common sense is not a very common commodity in these parts.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:18 pm |
  135. Billie G.

    As a former elementary school principal, I have zero tolerance for the narrow-minded, rigid rule appliers who damage children forever with their literal interpretation of "zero tolerance." I am now a family counselor and this sort of nonsense has unbelievable long term effects on those children who are the victims. All they are teaching is fear!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:18 pm |
  136. Mark, Houston

    This child is obviously a criminal. Today its a knife, tomorrow an assault rifle. Its well known that knives are just gateway weapons. This is just like the link between marijuana and heroin use. It will only get worse for her. She's probobly already got a WMD hiding behind her My Little Pony Castle, next to the Easy Bake oven.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:18 pm |
  137. Gerry

    I'm sure this could have been handled a lot better by both the teacher and the school
    before it became a CNN issue. What were these people thinking about? Are they NUTS.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:18 pm |
  138. Jon

    It is deffinately going to far when they arrest a 10 year old girl for eating lunch with a knife.The knife should have been taken away but there is absolutly NO reason to call the police about a little girl who did not know the school rules.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:18 pm |
  139. Smokey

    I believe that the parents, whom I hope are informed enough about their child's school would know that there was a zero tolerance policy on weapons and therefore realize it was not prudent to send her to school with a knife and subsequently CUT THE MEAT AT HOME, thus avoiding the whole situation in the first place.
    I also think that yes, the teachers acted correctly, there is a zero tolerance policy if that means nothing to them and they do nothing about it they leave the door open to an actual situation because they are not vigilant. Call it harsh, but call the police. If this is what it takes to get parents to think ahead, or to pay attention to their children's actions, then so be it.
    I do not think the girl should be charged with any wrongdoing, the 10 day suspension is punishment enough, both for the student and the parents. She didn't threaten anyone with it, no harm was done, no criminal charges should be applied.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:19 pm |
  140. Robert

    "Zero Tolerance" rules by school district have ruined students lives though these "No Exception" rules. Do school districts feel that school administrators cannot decide for themselves when a student has a "weapon" or "intent". "Zero Tolerance" or slap felony charges on our children without reason!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:19 pm |
  141. Tracy

    Ok, I'm only fourteen but this is the most ridiculus thing I have ever heard of a school doing! She only wanted to cut her steak. I mean were the teachers afraid of an innocent ten year old girl? Sissies! And by the way if you don't want a kid to bring a knife to school then make sure that the meat you serve is able to be cut by the plastic knives you give out!
    Oh and by the way you police should know that you may have to do something about the call but don't you think that when you got to the school you could have just laughed in the teachers faces at how dumb they are! Well now no one's laughing because this is by far the stupidest thing I have ever heard! Don't you think that arresting a girl for cutting her steak is dumb I mean really don't you think you should be trying to get the drugs out of schools before ten year old girls?!!!!!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:19 pm |
  142. Jamie Buelt

    Yes, it is going too far when a 10-year girl is arrested for using a knife to cut her meat. More offensive is the way that school officials and even the local police dig-in to defend an absurd action that they must know defies logic and good sense. They can hide behind "it's policy," but when we fail to employ rational thought in the implementation of rules, we become nothing more than good Germans, freely compromising reason for an illusion of safety.

    It's shameful to hear that adults in the position of authority are passing the buck as well as the responsibility and accountability of their ridiculous actions, all to the detriment of this poor child.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:19 pm |
  143. Mike

    Yes, it's going too far. But is anyone really surprised? We have eliminated common sense from most of our laws, rules and policies. No one will take a risk, exercise judgement, or look the other way any more. Teachers who cannot teach, administrators who use "zero tolerance" to hide their inability to think, parents who refuse to accept that the rules apply to their children, all must share some of the blame.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:20 pm |
  144. Marcelo

    God Jack I hate it when teacher act like they are the ones you should go talk to when anything is wrong, and they are also the first to get anybody in trouble for the smallest things !!, I always hated those double standards, and i really hope this little girl can get out of the situation, but her and everyone's parents should consider other things like snack, lays and candies, other things that don't involve something like a metal knife.
    Couldn't anyone just get that knife out of her hands and threw it away?? come on teachers?!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:20 pm |
  145. S. Plisner

    What's new! Over a decade ago I defended as a lawyer an 11 year old who was arrested and spent a night in juvenile jail for scratching his classmate on the back of his hand with an open paper clip while sitting in class. The kid was bored.

    The school sent him home. O.K. The police though ran after him and arrested him while he was walking home. He was charged with misdemeaner assault and was held in jail until arraignment. Children are not according law to spend time in jail in Minnesota for misdemeaners, especially prior to trial except in the most unusual of circumstances. No adult would have been incarcerated for the same offense.

    I tried the case admitting the facts but claiming that a child's school prank deserved perhaps school action but not prosecution for a crime. The judge disagreed and found after trial to the judge that he had commited a crime. Oh well. Zero tollerance.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:20 pm |
  146. Ron Ballard

    Yes, the lack of use of common sense, and the loss of being in touch with reality is distroying our freedom and country.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:20 pm |
  147. Kate

    No, of course she should be arrested! We should also take away all the kids' backpacks and purses, since it might cause a concussion if a student were hit in the head with one. And take the books and papers too...those paper cuts can be nasty. And let's not forget the pencils and pens...weapons, both! Oh, and no belts or shoelaces. And nobody can bring a lunch that someone else might be allergic too, like peanuts and strawberries. I would also suggest taking them out in leg irons for possession of a ruler, protractor or compass. Let's keep our schools safe! Padded rooms and oatmeal only!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:20 pm |
  148. Kevin

    I 'm 45 and when I was 10 I used to take my shotgun on the bus to school. I knew all the good Dove fields. After school my teachers and I would go hunting. What is this world coming to.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:20 pm |
  149. Lin D

    There is always someone who says "How come MY child/car/job/life and not THEIR child/car/job/life?" Reasonable attitudes come with reasonable people. You add in one lawsuit-happy, always someone else's fault, thought-less or thought-incapable person, and reasonable goes out the window. "MY child brought the knife to cut steak. He didn't MEAN to stab the kid who took cuts in line." No Tolerance is not just a cop-out for administrators and other leaders to not have to make decisions, but to give these same people a rule to point to when unreasonable people give us one more lesson on the inability to take responsibility for oneself.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:20 pm |
  150. barbara M.

    I live in Ocala, Fl. I agree the child was directed to the proper authorities. Why could not the parents or adult (s) of child be contacted? Every Parent or guardian is very well aware of the zero tolerence. policy. Send a sandwich for lunch like everyone else. The adults in this case are very irresponsible, sadly putting their child in a bad situation.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:20 pm |
  151. Janet

    Arresting a 10 year old is like arresting a dog – they both don't know what they are being arrested for. Let's wake up and get real people.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:20 pm |
  152. Ellliott Mayo

    Zero tolerance policies are just shields that mindless bureaucrats hide behind. Without them the officials would have to exercise judgment. They should all be thrown out – the policies and the people that enact them.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:21 pm |
  153. Ashley

    This is PRETTY PATHETIC that people are that stupid that are teaching our kids. Where does the common sense come in play?? Is that NOT in the MANUAL or is it stupidity that rules. How are we supposed to eat steak. Take all silverware out of schools, take the plates out, glasses out, and chairs out! Are these not all weapons?!? Next they are going to arrest us for farting in class!! It's bogus!! They took it too far!! SHE IS 10!!! She may not have known any better! Don't arrest a child for not knowing!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:21 pm |
  154. Philip Shorb

    This is a perfect example of the state of the Marion County School System's lack of discretion when it come to caring for students. I grew up in Ocala, FL, where this took place, and I am a product of its schools. This does not surprise me at all! I know that many politicians want to pay teachers more money and that is nice. But in Marion County Florida, teachers like these need to be paid LESS for their ignorance and lack of compassion. Teachers are not doing their jobs. They have instead become power-hungry vigilantes, seeking their own personal agendas, forsaking the well-being of students. I have no doubt that this 10-year-old girl was not white! Am I right?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:21 pm |
  155. Ellliott Mayo

    Zero tolerance policies are just shields that mindless bureaucrats hide behind. Without them the officials would have to exercise judgment. They should all be thrown out – the policies and the people that enact them.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:22 pm |
  156. mike

    December 18th, 2007 4:18 pm ET

    Jack, this only show that even a person with a college degree, can still act and think like a bonehead. If a child bought a steak knife to school to only use during the course of her meal, and did not cause any other acts with the knife, then common sense would tell you that she only brought the knife for that reason. I think to much is made of this. I think that simple problems, should be solved with simple solitions. A letter to the parents, that the child can not bring steak knives/ eating utensil to school would have handled this small problem. Next Problems

    December 18, 2007 at 5:22 pm |
  157. Scott

    What is going on in Florida!! Have these people lost their minds to arrest a 10 year old for the use of a knife during lunch. They should arrest the teacher and the idiots that subjected her to that problem.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:22 pm |
  158. Kristen

    Both the school and the cops went a little too far. The teachers' just should have taken the knife and let her off with a warning and/or send a letter home with her to her parents. If she was threatening someone or used it as a weapon, that's when the police should be called.

    There was a news story in October of a school security guard that attacked and broke a 16 year old High School Student's arm for not cleaning the floor to his liking after she dropped a piece of cake and a fellow student was arrested for filming it.

    Schools are becoming too strict or overactive these days and it is getting sad.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:22 pm |
  159. Mark


    If I wasn't so amused by the stupidity in every facet of this country I'd probably pack my bags and leave. Political correctness and fear mongering from the media and the government are crippling this country. Question: How many of these school murders were dreamed up because someone got an idea from the constant ad nauseum coverage of an event. The population of the world is increasing, therefore it just might not be as bad as it's made out to be. Let the kid cut her steak in peace.

    Mark in Pennsylvania

    December 18, 2007 at 5:22 pm |
  160. Rich, McKinney Texas

    How about a show of hands? How many parents let their 10 year old child go to school every day with a steak knife? What no hands? I rest my case your honor.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:22 pm |
  161. Michael , upstate NY

    What there needs to be zero tolerance for is the moronic cancer of zero accountability. The officers and teachers involved in this stunning display need to be reprimanded severely. Because it's not just this steak knife incident – consider also that the same teachers will be there tomorrow, and the rest of the school year. If ever there were a good case for bringing back the dunce cap, this is it – but not for the kids.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:23 pm |
  162. Mario

    Yes , the school was out of line, They are morons, I guess is too dangerous for some one in the school just to ask the girl for the knife, the zero tolerance is stupid.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:23 pm |
  163. James

    This must be a FL thing. I live here and have seen a couple of cases like this on the local news over the last couple of weeks alone. It seems our public officials don't know where to draw the line between zero tolerance and no excuses. Common sence must have taken the back seat with these people a long time ago, but I guess that puts them right in line with the rest of our elected officials.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:23 pm |
  164. Auian Ward

    Why not compliment the young lady for having great table manners and remembering what a fork is used for. In packing my daughter's lunch, I have actually put stainless utensils in her lunch and with a quick thought–she might get in trouble–I replace them with plasticware–still thinking the afore mentioned might be the end result. My daughter got home in time to hear this report today and now she believes my thoughts on this.

    Everyone involved knows the young lady caused no problems so why publish this and embarass her. Eat a bran muffin and let it go!

    Missouri City, Texas

    December 18, 2007 at 5:24 pm |
  165. Daniel

    Jack...has anyone ever gave it any thought why she needed a knife to cut her food? .I want to see the menu? ..She'll recover I hope but the school will be embarrassed for a long time. She should have been taken to the princples office thats all.. un-sympthanic morons..just my opinion



    December 18, 2007 at 5:24 pm |
  166. Albert Nonymous

    This is absolute madness... YES OF COURSE ARRESTING THE GIRL IS GOING TOO FAR!!! The teachers and administration at the school should have used what little brain they appeared to have possessed and just taken the knife away until they could reach the parents at a later time. I'm sure the police department had more pressing matters than to arrest a kid who was simply cutting her steak.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:24 pm |
  167. Sam

    Um...yes. Need I say more? At this rate, Beaver Cleaver from "Leave it to Beaver" himself would be on death row and his good ole' football lovin', God fearin', hard workin' Christian American brother Wally would be accused of being a pedophile.


    December 18, 2007 at 5:25 pm |
  168. Stuart Brinkley

    Yet another instance of America's inability to follow the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. One wonders whether this is this what the architects of the laws had in mind? In this case I would guess no. It would have worked just as well if the teachers that noticed the knife had asked the student not to bring knives to school ever again...problem solved and no one goes to jail. An experience like this could lead to the creation of criminals and mistrust of authority figures.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:25 pm |
  169. Mitchell

    I understand where the school is coming from, that a statement had to be made. However, what they are really saying is not that their policy is working, but that they dont have enough common sence to enforce it policy. The fact of the matter is that zero tollerance policies are inherantly flawed, because there is always a gray area. The real question posed by this incodent is how many other cases there are like this, and how much longer we eill let idiots like this run are schools, all over the country.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:25 pm |
  170. Daniel

    Jack...has anyone ever gave it any thought why she needed a knife to cut her food? .I want to see the menu? ..She'll recover I hope but the school will be embarrassed for a long time. She should have been taken to the princples office thats all.. un-sympthanic morons..just my opinion



    December 18, 2007 at 5:25 pm |
  171. Mom

    Yes, they over-reacted by arresting this specific child. However, I do believe they should have reacted. Having 2 children in school myself, I am not be comfortable with any weapons in school. I have known of young girls being violent and dangerous in school, even at the elementary level.

    Next question, did her parents know she was not supposed to carry a knife to school?!?!?!?! They did not have to know she was taking it that day, if they had taught their child the rules. This is why parents sign that they went over the parent-student handbook with the child.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:25 pm |
  172. Britt Jackson

    What we have here is a failure to not only communicate but to marinate. A well marinated and aged steak would solve this problem immediatley! The Sunrise Elementary School will have to update their manual to include the banning of cheap steaks and ... of course morons, also.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:25 pm |
  173. Wesley

    Cmon Jack, don't you know everyone is out for a buck nowadays, they probaly wanted all the publicity for a lawsuit, knives should never be took to school.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:26 pm |
  174. Derek

    Well it's not OK for a 10-year old to have a Steak knife...but wait 9 years and maybe they'll walk into a mall with an AK-47. Noone's gonna question "why did a 19-year old have an AK-47"??

    Sound like the same policy makers that rid of the statur of David because it has a penis.

    These are the people that killed Jesus!

    LET THE GIRL CUT HER STEAK IN PEACE!!! Sense when did it become our civil duty not to mind our own Business?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:26 pm |
  175. David

    This is not overreaction if you really want zero tolerance in schools for weapons. What part of zero is so hard to understand here. Apart from the risk that the kid could have had other motives, it leaves that kind of situation wide open for any disgruntled kid at the school to take the knife and stab someone with it. Until parents teachers and peer groups take responsibility for instilling social values in these kids, this is the price they will pay. Tell the kid to cut the damned steak before she takes it to school. Problem solved before it starts.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:27 pm |
  176. dale

    Yes and no...but what part of NO KNIVES AT SCHOOL, didn't she or her parents understand?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:27 pm |
  177. barbara M.

    I live in Ocala, Fl. I agree with the school. Where were the parents? What's wrong with a sandwich? Have you seen a 10 year old lately? Have you read the papers or watched the news? I'd want my 5 year old protected against a knife held by anyone, any age....

    December 18, 2007 at 5:27 pm |
  178. Bill

    Zero tolerance equals zero common sense.
    The knife should not have been there. The knife should have been taken and the parents and student should have been informed of the situation. I concerned with "zero tolerance" in a learning environment. Zero tolerance is a proper reaction for violent acts and weapons intended for that purpose. The smallest amount of judgement by the staff responsible, and the police officers involved, could have stopped this before it twisted out of the relm of sanity.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:27 pm |
  179. AL




    December 18, 2007 at 5:28 pm |
  180. Anthony Motta

    I think that the school system is "crazy!!" They shouldn't have suspented the girl from school. They should give the girl another chance.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:28 pm |
  181. roger bowman

    zero tolerance......what a joke.no common sense is the real crime here!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:29 pm |
  182. ken case

    With all the illegals that are coming across the border, and the total indifference on the part of congress, nothing surprises me. I just wonder how stupid can we get?? Only time will tell. I hope no one ever finds out that I carry a jack knife. My god, I could get life.....Keep up the good work and insightful commentary...Ken

    December 18, 2007 at 5:29 pm |
  183. Michael

    Yes, I think things went too far with the 10 year old girl trying to cut her steak for lunch. I mean come on, people. How far should "zero tolerance" go? If a student hits another student over the head with a text book, is that not also a weapon? When I went to school we had forks, spoons, and knives available so that we could eat our food as humans not animals!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:29 pm |
  184. rose

    Unreasonable search and siezure, false imprisonment, I believe those are some of the reasons the revolutionary war was fought . The girl's parents need to sue the teachers involved, not the school system, but the ignorant teachers who called the police on a child cutting up her food. Was she suppose to gnaw on it like a dog? As morons, they deserve to be sued and not alowed to teach school. What's next, kids with disecting kits will have to serve hard time?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:31 pm |
  185. Danny

    You know our society has collapsed when we have to worry about the ten year old girls wielding deadly knives and threatening their steaks in the lunchroom! These people wouldn't know a real problem child until they were slapped in the face by one. Be wary of the child with the butterknife kids, he's not right!!!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:31 pm |
  186. John

    All the teachers, school staff and police involved should be fired tomorrow, if not tonight. They are clearly too stupid to be able to their jobs properly. I suggest the police concentrate their efforts on catching the murderers and rapists on the loose in Florida.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:31 pm |
  187. David Firshein

    They actually arrested a 10-year girl for eating lunch with her own steak knife?!? Because they are afraid of what?!? Osama Bin Ladel?!? Are you freak'n kidding me?

    Thank you oh fearful America. Thank you Mr. Bush & Co., for striking so much fear into the hearts of so many stupid people, that we are now about as advanced as the Lord of the Flies.

    It's the moron School Administrators and Police Chief in that town who should be arrested!!! These people clearly don't have big enough brains to think for themselves, if that's the most intelligent response they could come up with, in a situation like this! They should be arrested for their own good, and for the sake of the rest of us. I can't believe they are allowed to hold jobs, much less vote. No wonder why this country is so messed up. And there are some people on here who even want to blame the parents. Amazing. Have any of you schmuecks ever heard of the concept of communication?!?!? Bah! Boo! For shame!!!!!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:32 pm |
  188. Rick

    Absolutely Jack. I think straws should be added to the list also.
    What a bunch of morons.
    This is why our educational system is in such a desfunctional state.
    I have a novel idea, what about going back to just educating our children.
    But what do I know.


    December 18, 2007 at 5:32 pm |
  189. Nick Carona

    Jack, I know the cops went too far, but is it going too far for the girl to cut her steak at home, or is that too much to ask a 10 year old? I'm the last person you need to preach to about cops going to far, whether they are using a taser on a 90 year old woman, or arresting someone for spitting on the sidewalk. But honestly, I think the girl is partly at fault for not cutting her food at home and bringing a knife to school.

    Nick Carona

    December 18, 2007 at 5:32 pm |
  190. Jessica from South Florida

    Are you kidding me? I can understand the whole "zero tolerance" rule, but she's 10 years old for crying out loud! Sure it was stupid to bring an actual knife to cut steak at school, but the school knives are crap! Those knives can't cut anything! When you think about it, forks are just as dangerous too. Sporks are even worse!
    By the way, what kind of school serves steak? No, what kind of elementary school serves steak anymore? Not even MY school serves such delicacy!
    Anyways, the school was overreacting, and so would I. It's scary. Nowadays, kids her age are at a mental instability stage. They're learning new things, going into middle school soon, and some are even reaching early puberty (which seems to be starting earlier and earlier in kids). The school had every right to feel concerned, but, like you said, Jack, taking the knife away form the girl never occured to them. They were too hyped up on "Oh no! Some girl has a knife! GO GO GO!" and didn't think it through.
    Schools need to calm down when it comes to younger kids and breaking school rules.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:33 pm |
  191. Michael

    This is about a mistake a young girl made not about intent to harm. For the teachers who reported this without being capable of handling it in a possitive manner, shame on them. You should have alerted the Principal not the Police. I wouldn't be surprised if this young girl feels unjust and could ever focus on the rest of her school year.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:33 pm |
  192. Jason K

    Jack , This is absolutly absurd.Every situation and person is different.In many cases like this common sense and God given wisdom is the best way to handle things. I mean I thought this was America "home of the free" yea right.I think you have to look at the girl ,her past, was there a incident with the knife, a threat anything like that. Nothing like this happened so i think the knife should of been taken from the child, a parent called and so on and so forth. Every person and little kid in America is not Osama Bin Laden. If we view all human biengs as evil how can we love each other and make this world a better place.where is the love ,how come no love was shown to this little girl only distrust ,and anamosity.What a shame this is happening in America.Jack my daughter who was about 11 was suspened for 3 days and they threated to expell her because she went to school with a manicure set that her mother bought her at the mall. She went to school and was showing her teacher her gift who in turn sent her to principal office who suspened her for 3 days. Same case no threat,no fight showing her teacher.i then went to the school big metal detector,security guard all the crap that they say they are using to protect our kids.yeah right security guard is a retiree didnt even make me go through the metal dectector,no search nothing. i talked to principal who explained zero tolerance,then i told him pensils ,chairs ,pens,mop ringers,flag posts,paper weights all can be used as weapon.i dont know what the solution is but i think this country is losing alot of freedoms because of 911.i feel bad for this little girl bacause the intent of her heart was not evil but she is getting treated as if she is nothing but evil.Thats sad!!!!!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:33 pm |
  193. Landy

    Jack, bringing a knife to a school is wrong, but it doesnt mean you should lock up an innocent child and suspend her. Maybe she didn't even know she wasn't suppose to bring a knife to school. Their could of been a better and less threating way of taking the knife away from the child, without scaring her poor soul. Taking actions is fine but, come on thats bringing a new generation of bonkers all over again!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:34 pm |
  194. Michael

    Jack, Ya just have to live in the " Forgotten" Part of Florida to understand. First, eating with proper utinsels is rare, second not too many these days up can even afford steak and likely not seen one in years, third most here are accustomed to pre-programed not independant thought, fourth what beef we do get obviously is of dubious quality, and fifth there just ain't alot of garage sales to flock too during the weekdays to finish up our christmas shopping, so we look to other forms of "entertainment"

    December 18, 2007 at 5:37 pm |
  195. Richard

    So...a parent mistakenly sends a 10 year old girl to school to cut the meat in her lunch box

    ....and the school personnel are incapable of dealing with the situation logically by taking the knife from the child and explaining to the girl why they had to do that

    ...so instead they called in 'reinforcements' (the police) who then say they had no choice but to arrest the little girl!!.

    Are these supposed adults running this school and police force NUTS or just incompetent ?

    Seems to me that they arrested and locked up the wrong parties in this incident.

    SAD , SAD, SAD !!!

    December 18, 2007 at 5:37 pm |
  196. Cassandra in Cheverly, MD

    Have our country's school and law enforcement officials been lobotomized?! I guess it never occurred to the teachers to take the knife away, cut the child's food, and return the knife to her parents with a reminder about their policy. They've done more harm by traumatizing this child with an arrest than she could ever have done by using a knife to simply cut her food. Soon there will be zero tolerance for other weapons such as belts, backpacks, plastic forks, pencils, and rubber bands; anything can be used as a weapon if the intent to harm is present. Clearly, in this case, it wasn't. The ability to discern the difference between innocence and ill-intent is sorely lacking.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:38 pm |
  197. bill wilkinson

    morons, an understatement !!!!! maybe these same morons can be made to pay for the counseling this unfortunate child will need to overcome such reaction. if only these educated teachers could display some of the same common sense they expect thes children to display.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:38 pm |
  198. Patricia Anne

    Heaven forbid Jack...what would we do without manuals? We'd have to actually use common sense and think through a problem! After three endless years in Ocala, nothing that happens there surprises me. Black & white concrete thinkers...apparently there are no shades in grey in any situations when it comes to the Sheriff's Dept. Scary..isn't it?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:40 pm |
  199. Gavin

    Of course it is going too far, but what else should you expect considering the fact that we now live in a facist dictatorship.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:42 pm |
  200. Timmy Drose

    Dear Sir: Its a catch 22...You're damned if you do , you're damned if you dont. Scrutinized and criticized either way, but, at the same time there is also common sense. To arrest and jail a child who obviously made a mistake is doing more harm than good. There were alternatives. This is merely a sign of the times and a testiment to the death of "Common Sense". God help us all... Timmy Drose, Charleston, SC

    December 18, 2007 at 5:44 pm |
  201. Scott

    This poor child and her family deserve better from their school district, their police, and their government. If her family can afford to send her to school with steak for lunch, they should be able to hire a good attorney, and I hope they sue the pants off of every governmental agency involved in this travesty.

    The experience of being arrested and taken to a juvenile lockup will remain with this poor child for life, and for what? I guess we should be thankful that she wasn't charged as a terrorist and taken to another country to be tortured – oops! I mean interrogated.

    Finding "weapons" is always a good thing for the police, the military, and the government, because they can say that they're "keeping us safe". Being as we haven't found any weapons in Iraq, why not look in the public schools?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:46 pm |
  202. Greg from PA

    All I can say is that the steak knife must have been as big as "Crocodile" Dundee's. What the hell were they thinking? Oh, that's right. They weren't.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:46 pm |
  203. Landy

    Jack, bringing a knife to a school is wrong, but it doesnt mean you should lock up an innocent child and suspend her. Maybe she didn’t even know she wasn’t suppose to bring a knife to school. Their could of been a better and less threating way of taking the knife away from the child, without scaring her poor soul. Taking actions is fine but, come on thats bringing a new generation of bonkers all over again!


    December 18, 2007 at 5:51 pm |
  204. tom brown

    The girl's lucky the police didn't shoot her. What if she had been a terrorist?
    Next thing you know there will be herds of ten year old girls charging around, brandishing knives in one hand and exploding steaks in the other. Then God help us all...whoops, sorry, no God in school; my bad.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:51 pm |
  205. James Hewporth

    This is ridiculous. A ten-year-old girl does not understand why she is in handcuffs. The teachers and law enforcement need to take their heads out and look around. Yes there should be some measures taken to help the girl understand that what she did was wrong but suspension and arrest are only going to lead to tears. Zero Tolerance equals Zero Inteligence.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:52 pm |
  206. chris shanks

    ok i think they went a bit to the extreme for this. It just shows how much common sense our "schools" have now a days.... NONE. So now a 10 yr old girl is going to be scarred for life and have a juvinile record for wanting to cut her steak. Is the school going to pay for her counseling for such a detrimental act? More then likely not. Stuipdity like that in our schools shows how much our country is so screwed up. Our government is screwed up and our schools are screwed up. U.S. "land of milk and honey" more like land of going to jail no matter what age you are.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:54 pm |
  207. Tim in Dallas

    Well, Jack, I guess I'm lucky that I'm out of school now. If my mom cooked me a steak to take to school for lunch, I'd need A a chainsaw.

    December 18, 2007 at 5:59 pm |
  208. Bush, Washington D.C

    Who the moron hired that teacher?

    December 18, 2007 at 5:59 pm |
  209. Jason Villamil

    The way children learn is by trying new things and along the way making mistakes, Zero Tolerance comes down like a ton of bricks on any little mistake which not only instills fear in the punished child but every child around them. Pretty soon what you have is a whole lot of neurotic little children walking on eggshells in fear of making a mistake. How will they learn?

    What would happen if we expanded Zero Tolerance to some other childhood activity that involves lots of mistakes? Like learning to walk? Would make for a strange world wouldn’t it.

    December 18, 2007 at 6:01 pm |
  210. Alex

    The answer in this whole incident can be found in the imortal words of that great american hero, Karl Rove…


    I suspect soon he’ll be meeting with "hand picked" reporters for some of the more "juicy details…"

    December 18, 2007 at 6:04 pm |
  211. Doug Taussig

    This news story is just another example of the insanity that has gripped our country. Schools and corporations are too afraid of litigation and political correctness to allow any of thier supposed leaders an inch of judgement.

    I would be very interested in seeing what this school classifies as a "weapon". It will be interesting to see how the cafeteria workers do their job without knives. Or the handyman without a boxcutter or hammer. In fact, I bet if the schools teachers all emptied thier pockets and desk drawers, you would find a number of pocket knives and pointed scissors. The police better back up the paddy-wagon.

    December 18, 2007 at 6:07 pm |
  212. Rich, McKinney Texas

    If the airlines had had a zero tolerance on 9-11 the world trade center would still be standing and we would not be in Iraq right now. A little bit of carelessness goes a long way. Overlook one knife today you get one in the back tomorrow. What the hell part of NO don't people understand. NO means NO.

    December 18, 2007 at 6:10 pm |
  213. BB from Chandler AZ

    Common sense and logical thinking left this country a long time ago. What sort of country ARRESTS 10 year old children for doing nothing wrong, humiliating them in front of their classmates, scarring them psychologically, and making them fear and distrust the police for the rest of their life? Completely unnecessary, totally immoral, and absolutely inexcusable.

    Remember that old line, "the land of the free and the home of the brave?" That place has passed into myth... replaced by "the land of the guilty-until-proven-innocent and the home of the perpetually terrified."

    December 18, 2007 at 6:10 pm |
  214. John Lintz

    Ridiculous. Crime is still based on intent. she was threatening no one. If the prosecutor does not fail to prosecute this one, he is a fool.

    December 18, 2007 at 6:12 pm |

    I understand the GANGS in public schools these days...

    I understand the suicide students...

    But, we have complete MORONS in this country with the ridiculous amout of DUMB LAWS and turning this country into a POLICE STATE... yes even at age 10.

    I think a majority of the citizens in this country have had it with incompetency at all levels of government.

    Crap does truly run downhill from the President & CONGRESS to your local community schools.

    I think NAZI Germany would be proud of this STATE of LAW COUNTRY!

    December 18, 2007 at 6:15 pm |
  216. Temple

    Jack – Authorities did not go too far! Her parents should have known that sending their daughter to school with a weapon could get the little girl in trouble. I think they should find out from the parents why they could not find TIME to cut the steak to size for their daughter. That steak knife could have very possible fall into an ill-intentioned child to hurt another innocent person.

    December 18, 2007 at 6:15 pm |
  217. Bernadette

    This angers me to hear this news. I have 3 – 10 year old nieces. I can't imagine anything like this happening to them. This is just craziness. They are so innocent. Someone needs to step up and say enough is enough.
    The school says "0 tolerance"? Shouldn't there be a clause added to this? Did anyone tell her, or any other student of this 0 tolerance? After all, she's the one that they slapped the cuffs on. Did anyone tell the "children" what items are defined as weapons? There should be a list. What about a "pat down" isn't it protocol to "pat down" anyone that is cuffed and arrested. After all she might be "carrying".
    Pat down of a "minor" little girl? I don't even want to go there. Expecially since the parents were'nt there. I see a law suite in the future.
    I work in a prison for adult men. A majority of these inmates have no regard for authority figures. They probably grew up from a very young age having no respect for authority. Now I would understand why; if this "little girl" grew up to have a disrespect towards autority figures. She must be terrified. I am getting a lump in my thoat just thinking of this. 10 years old; so very influencial. This must be tramatizing for her. I hope she is going to get some guidance to get her through this; not from her school. I hate to see her grow up having a fear for authorities. The very same people that we should trust and respect . . . not fear and disrespect.


    December 18, 2007 at 6:15 pm |
  218. Wil

    Jean Larsen is correct in her statement about the sexual predators. Kids are taught at school to trust their teachers while placing mistrust against the parents. I am sure that the child only meant to cut her steak. As everyone knows, if you cut the steak beforehand, it will dry out quicker. It was probably in her lunchbox all morning not bothering anyone.

    It is very unfair to blame her parents. At least, they taught her table manners.

    Teachers are too lazy to help the girl cut her steak.

    Besides, if kids could carry weapons, maybe they wouldn't have to worry about the teachers' sexual assaults!

    December 18, 2007 at 6:16 pm |
  219. Chris

    At some point common sense must "kick-in". Reality suggests that a high school thug having a steak knife and a 10 year old child eating lunch are two completely different situations and I would expect any authority figure in the 10 year-olds situation to respond to it as such.

    December 18, 2007 at 6:18 pm |
  220. Sherie

    Yes, I think they should have arrested the teacher instead.

    December 18, 2007 at 6:25 pm |
  221. Erin

    A weapon (which can be anything) is only a weapon when used as such. If using a steak knife for it's intended purpose (cutting steak) is considered a weapon then why isn't a fork a weapon as well?
    I can't begin to imagine the trauma these morons inflicted upon this child; arresting a 10 year old for bringing a knife to cut her steak so she could eat lunch, what's this world coming to? Maybe home school doesn't sound so bad after all.

    December 18, 2007 at 6:31 pm |
  222. Robert Biers

    Jack, I think the parents of this young girl are not too smart, they know there would be some trouble over this knife deal. A smart parent, if they could afford steak for lunch would have cut it before she went to school.

    December 18, 2007 at 6:43 pm |
  223. Ralph Howerton

    Zero tolerance blindsides common sense. This is just one more thing that is wrong with our public school system. What a farce.

    December 18, 2007 at 7:11 pm |
  224. Dawson Lodge

    Ever been stabbed with a pencil? What do they use in schools these days – crayons? Zero tolerance means zero intelligence. But let's teach these kids
    that they must obey, obey, obey authority !!!
    I'm really looking forward to the time when everything is either mandatory or forbidden. Then I don't have to strain my brain trying to make choices.
    If these teacher had any brains, they would have sat down with the girl and
    explained why her possesion of the knife could be considered a weapon under their rules. But not to worry. Now there is another rebel against stupidity and fascism..............

    December 18, 2007 at 7:25 pm |
  225. shayna

    The government aught to be ashamed of itself. What's the world coming to?

    Wikipedia tyranny, fascism, police state, martial law and how about the devil from the pits of hell total scum.

    December 18, 2007 at 7:47 pm |
  226. Darrel @Lone Rock Iowa

    Well now/ What if a 16 year old nut case in school seen this Steak Knife the 10 Year old girl had and picked it up and cut the throat of His Teacher or classmate or the janitor or pehaps the bus driver?

    Zero tolerance is just that/ Zero

    It is the Parents that should be put in the slamer. They are the responsible ones.
    Did they pack the Knife? or did the 10 year old steal it from home? WE got a lot of stupid parents out there any more. Just don't pay attention to the rules. Zero tolerance is a must and parents need to monitor and pay attention to there children. They are the responsibility of the Parents. Come on Mom and Dad pay attention to your children. And play by the rules for the saftey of all concerned. After all I don't think the parents want some 9 year old stabing there 10 year old with a steak Knife?
    Common Sense says a steak knife under zero tolerance is a serious violation of the rules. Maybe the parents can't read English. Or understand it.

    December 18, 2007 at 7:57 pm |
  227. Brian Green

    It's definately going too far when kids can't even eat their lunch without being arrested. It shows that the government is more interested in running a ditatorship and trying to control our lives and the lives of the kids than they are in providing an education.
    It was was so bad back when I was in high school that even the best teachers were dropping out of the school system because they were fed up with the way the local government was running the system. They were even talking mandetory school uniforms.
    In jr. high, I was called a devil worshiper for staying up at night studying the music business.
    Even if I were to get married and have kids, no kid of mine would be in a public school system, they would be home schooled.

    December 18, 2007 at 8:07 pm |
  228. John Deitch

    There is quite a bit more to the evaluation that none of us will acknowledge. First of all when I was this young girls age, anything I did was my parents responsibility. Thus, anything I did my parents would be responsible for.
    In my perspective, we have to many people on the planet to assume what intelligence or moral values to expect. We have changed the rules so much to avoid responsibility that we end up with conundrums as this.

    The school staff cannot take the personal touch that it once did, understaffed, underpaid, and overcrowded in pupil number’s. School Boards adopt frame works of discipline to accommodate what it can do with what it has... etc.

    We are victims of our own demise, we all need to take responsibility for not making our Country more interested in taking better care of our Children, which includes our own participation as Parents and Citizens with civic duties.

    Multi-Generational U.S.A. Citizen,

    jD IV

    December 18, 2007 at 8:42 pm |
  229. Don from PA

    I am a school administrator and this is an example of little problem made into a big problem due to lack of proper decision-making skills by those in leadership positions. Proper solution would have been: Assess situation-10 y/o with knife cutting food; Approach and possibly assist her with cutting food; then take the knife and then let her eat lunch; after lunch bring her to office and explain why you have knife and that mom and dad can come get it after school for safety sake; call mom and dad and ask them to come by and claim knife and explain situation and prevent future issues with explanation; send knife home with parents and send girl home happy; finally contact Superintendent and tell him/her you just saved them a lot of media coverage and money. Please understand there are some administrators and districts that make all of us look bad. Final thought is if they have a zero tolerance policy then they better make sure they do not have any disections in science class because those kids would have knives too!!! Lets get real and earn your money and make decisions rather than simply relying on a policy in simple black and white!

    December 18, 2007 at 8:53 pm |
  230. Isaac

    I have heard of things like this happening before. I even heard of a little girl being strip searched once. My answer is simply this. How pathetic do you have to be to arrest a ten year old child? This isn't a criminal. This is a child who wanted to eat a steak. Next thing she knows she's being arrested. What kind of idiot does that to a child? Were they going too far? Absolutely! Every single one of those police officers and the teacher who called the police need to be arrested themselves because I don't care what anybody says. When you do that to a child you create psychological scars that will never go away. She's going to be terrified of the police and other figures of authority for a long time. Congratulations to the police officers who ruined her childhood.

    December 18, 2007 at 10:44 pm |
  231. rick

    ok to arrest a little girl gor useing good table manners is just stupid and eventually they will place the kids in rubber rooms for 8 hours a day or teach them something"wait they do put kids in rubber rooms i forgot this is the american public school system original and independant thought r weapons and there is zero tolerance against weapons"

    December 19, 2007 at 12:43 am |
  232. Hubie Nelson

    Hi Jack!

    Jack I'm have four children and 10 grandchildren, I am glad that some of them grew up before this school system and our government went hay wild [crazy].

    If this little girl had no intention of harming anyone that day at school, the damage would have been done long before anyone knew that she had the stake knife. This child did not go to school with any intentions to do harm to no one, just to eat her stake.

    I will agree with several others people, thank God she wasn't ta-zed to death. Yes the school and police both over reacted.

    Olive Branch MS

    December 19, 2007 at 7:06 am |
  233. Shy Anne

    You know, honestly, no, I don't think it's unreasonable. I understand that the girl probably didn't do anything out of line, but the idea of a kid having a sharp knife - and hey, a steak knife is a pretty significant blade, there - at school makes me uncomfortable. It's an accident waiting to happen. Cut the steak up into strips at home in the kitchen and send the kid to school with a steak sandwich.

    December 19, 2007 at 8:17 am |
  234. Heather, Ohio

    I think cutting the steak for her, confiscating the knife and calling her parents would have been sufficient. Calling the police was excessive. She didn't threaten anyone with it. It's terrible that in our society today we have to be paranoid about a 10 year old with a steak knife.

    December 19, 2007 at 8:41 am |
  235. Anna

    Common sense or lack of all all sides, if you ask me. The steak should have been cut up at home so that a knife was not needed in the school lunchroom. The teacher should have just let her cut the steak then taken the knife away. She had no intentions of using it except for the purpose it was intended. A moment of ignorance on the parents part and a teachers, along with the reactions of the school and police, could scar this girl for a long time. If you ask me, the worse thing that happened here was in the mental abuse put on this child, from the ignorance of all of the adults concerned.

    December 19, 2007 at 9:01 am |
  236. David

    Final score in this situation:

    Craziness – 1 Common Sense – 0

    What is this school thinking. If this isn't a perfect example of a bunch of bureaucrats hiding behind rules, I don't know what is.
    I find it interesting that the people that run the school have college degrees, master degree or higher, but yet was not taught one ounce of common sense in all that education. Perhaps, they should go back to the schools where they got their degrees from and ask for their money back!

    December 19, 2007 at 9:22 am |
  237. Jassy

    Oh well its just stupid situation how can parents let their kids take the knife with them to school, i guess it more like a lesson to the parents but then again the child is the one who is going through detention.

    I think the teacher did a good job informing the police.

    December 19, 2007 at 10:24 am |
  238. Gus from Maryland

    This is just an issue between a bunch of really stupid school administrative personnel going overboard and the really stupid parents of a 10 year old. How is it possible to answer who went too far when noone had any common sense in the first place?

    December 19, 2007 at 10:44 am |
  239. Justin, Pittsburgh

    What ever happened to a warning or a second chance?
    Logic and psychology dictates that the average 10 year old does not have considerable foresight. But they do have considerable memory.
    Another case of the authorities jumping the gun or knife...

    December 19, 2007 at 11:13 am |
  240. Dave

    FEAR-----Our govermont has been and continues to keep us in fear eversince 911.....and it has made it way down to our schools

    December 19, 2007 at 11:28 am |
  241. Tim

    Jack, it makes you wonder about the adults and the child involed in this situation, hmmmm kind of hard too tell which of these people are 10.

    December 19, 2007 at 11:29 am |
  242. Jim Barton

    Why didn't the teacher just talk to the 10 year old, confiscate the knife and throw it into the trash? Why did the teacher decide to publicize the whole event? I might think that the teacher thought they could gain some notoriety and fame from this incident....all at the cost of the child.

    Well, so long as others have something to gain from the misery of others... even if it is a child and her future. We should award a metal of honor to this teacher for protecting society from the menacing ten-year old. Next she might have strapped TNT to her chest and blown up the school recital....

    How could our society justify this?

    December 19, 2007 at 11:40 am |
  243. John Baker


    I think the arrest falls under either the Homeland Security policy or the No Child Left Behind act. It's whichever one has the more ridiculous rules...

    John in Normal

    December 19, 2007 at 11:45 am |
  244. Ben


    December 19, 2007 at 12:00 pm |
  245. Steve in Antioch

    So, did they arrest her before or after she ate the steak? How was the steak? Next thing you know it will be against the rules to bring food from home so as not to upset those kids whose parents cannot afford to send their kid to school with ort from dinner the night before. Oh the humanity!

    Stupid is as stupid does...not zero tolerance....zero brains or S&^t for brains is more like it.

    Oh...was it a steak knife or a butter knife? What do the kids eat with in the school? Their hands?

    December 19, 2007 at 12:01 pm |
  246. Bruce Kettler

    Lots of angles here–and lots of wrongdoers.
    The parents certainly know that knives of any kind are not allowed at school. Did they pack the knife in the lunch? Why didn't they prevent the problem by cutting the steak up at home?
    The girl certainly knew that knives of any kind are not allowed at school. Did she take it out of her lunchbag?
    Neither the teachers nor the administration made the no tolerance rule. That is not the way it works. A school board (with the help of an attorney) made the rule in response to school violence and an uproar from parents demanding both security and fairness for their children.
    Had the teachers and administrators not acted as they did, they would have been subject to criticism and censure from their bosses–the school board and the electorate.
    What if they had overlooked the knife? After all, ten-year-old girls are harmless enough. Should they do the same for all ten-year-old girls? How about boys? My point is that a rule must be enforced evenly–or not at all.
    If it is not enforced at all, we are back to where we started–with students being allowed to take deadly weapons to school.

    December 19, 2007 at 12:05 pm |
  247. Jim Jensen

    I think the problem is that the schools are making rules to protect all the children and, at the same time, let in delinquent, deranged or otherwise dangerous children who are a threat to the children who are just there to get an education. We really need to prohibit children who pose a threat to the other children from even coming on the school grounds, let alone attend classes, and then all the nasty problems would go away. Oh, yeah, and a little common sense on the part of the teachers and administrations would help too.

    December 19, 2007 at 1:01 pm |
  248. William Hamed

    If this little girl had intention of harming anyone that day at school, the damage would have been done long before her lunch time. This is an example of little problem made into a big problem due to lack of proper decision-making skills by those in leadership positions. I would of help her cut the meat then taken the knife from her and turning it in to the office and explain why you should not have a knife and that mom and dad can come get it after school for safety sake. Call her parents and ask them to come by and claim the knife and explain the situation then send the knife home with her parents along with a happy student. If it was up to me I would trash both the “zero tolerance” along with "No Child Left Behind" and can who ever came up with them for not doing what they are paid to do "Make Decision"..

    December 19, 2007 at 1:12 pm |
  249. Barbara

    "Zero Tolerance" in schools is just another lame-brained,lazy and anti intellectual cop-out by lame brained,lazy and anti intellectual school boards and teachers unions in cahoots to dumb down schools to the lowest common denominator possible. There must be standards that are to be maintained but not at the expence of common sense. To have a ten year old child arrested because she brought a steak knife to use at lunch is indicative of the lack of imagination and real intelligence shown by the teaching establishment whose other claim to fame is our undereducated and intellectually disengaged student population. There are exceptions out there in school land but they are the exceptions rather than the rule. As far as the parents are concerned – unless they are known to be prone to stupid behavior, Give them a break. Actually, sending a steak knife along with a steak makes more sense than arresting the girl because of her lunch utinsils.

    December 19, 2007 at 1:14 pm |
  250. Anna

    Well Bruce, when you come right down to it, a pencil can be a deadly weapon.
    (enough said)

    December 19, 2007 at 1:42 pm |
  251. Craig

    Let me see if I'm getting this right. Does the school not supply utensils with which to eat? Granted, it's been a while since I attended school but then there metal forks, knives, and spoons provided for our use. Do children now have to eat with rubber utensils; or maybe with their hands like a caveman?

    December 19, 2007 at 1:51 pm |
  252. Michael

    No wonder Americans can't eat like civilized people. They have to eat with their fingers because they do not know what knife and fork are for.
    Only in the Land of the offended.
    A few more years and America will be back in the stone age. Hopefully a better and smarter civilization will then take over.

    December 19, 2007 at 2:30 pm |
  253. Mack McCallon

    I belive we have all gone off the deep end, for gosh sakes she was trying to eat her lunch. Look at the Mall shooting and VT these are things you can't do anything about cause it will violate our rights and freedoms. I thought it was rediculous to arrest a second grader for drawing of a gun, did they think the paper was going to hurt someone, for gosh sakes we can't even say Merry X-mas cause it may offend someone. I say we all need to get over ourselves and all just learn to get along.


    December 19, 2007 at 4:35 pm |
  254. ann johnson

    I feel as if I am in the "twilight zone". The arrest of the child with the steak knirfe, the wimpy democrats and republicans, the Iraq budget, destroyed tapes, George Bush acting like a tsar and with all of his tag-alongs – Rod Serling is still with us.

    December 19, 2007 at 4:36 pm |
  255. Spen Baldik

    Just one more reason to love the BABY BOOMERS!

    December 19, 2007 at 4:59 pm |
  256. Tom Warner

    Zero tolerance? How many knives are there in the school cafeteria kitchen? If none are allowed in the school, then get them away from the cooks. What about letter openers in the school office, baseball bats in the gym and god only knows how many "weapons " are in the maintenance shop.

    December 19, 2007 at 5:42 pm |
  257. Lloyd Hall

    If she'd have brought a plastic knife to cut her meat she probably would have been accused of contributing to global warming. Of course, according to the fanatics, eating meat is contributing to global warming. Her parents should have sent her to school with a head of lettuce to eat, then the staff at the school could have had a head of lettuce to use as a role model. It appears the school systems are being staffed by vegetables, fruits and nuts. I'm surprised they aren't worshipping Musli this time of year, as I am sure there's not one Christmas Icon in that school. Merry Musli and have a Happy Nut Year!

    December 19, 2007 at 6:58 pm |
  258. Scott

    Well, She's obviously a terrorist!!!!
    I think she needs some waterboarding to help her confess her connections to Osama.

    December 19, 2007 at 7:17 pm |
  259. Adam T.

    All I can say is LOL, this must be a prank. Where are the cameras, punk'd?!?! WATCH OUT, SHES GOT A SHARP PENCIL AND HER PEN HAS INK!!!!!!!!

    December 20, 2007 at 7:19 pm |
  260. Jonathan Monjazi

    Its time we took back back our schools from the bureaucrats and unions and give them back to the parents, with school choice and vouchers, Public educators, like Soviet farmers, lack any incentive to produce results, innovate, to be efficient, to make the kinds of of difficult changes that private firms operating in a competitive market must make to survive."
    - Carolyn Lochhead

    December 20, 2007 at 9:03 pm |
  261. Brian Xjug


    When I heard about your book, on your life, I was quite moved. I think your story is amazing, and I have alot of respect for you in turning not just lemons, but rotten lemons into lemonade.

    That said, you're a blow hard, and your opinions are not only ridiculous, but prove you are a buffoon!

    Merry Christmas


    December 21, 2007 at 1:33 pm |
  262. Jim Linehan

    In a stunning ruling issued today the Tenth Circuit Federal Court of appeals has ruled that the fees paid to attorneys representing disabled persons in their SSA appeals, are not to be paid to the attorney, and will be confiscated by the United States to pay off any completely unrelated state or federal debts personally owed by the SSA claimant.
    Manning v. Astrue, No. 06-7127
    In a Social Security benefits case, denial of plaintiff's Fed. R. Civ. P. 60 motion requesting that the court either set aside an administrative offset to an award of attorney's fees the court made to her under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) or amend the fee order to award the EAJA fees to her counsel is affirmed where the district court properly made the attorney's fees award to plaintiff and that award was subject to administrative offset for her unpaid student loan debts.
    This now means that for hundreds of thousands of present and future disabled adults and children who are wrongfully denied their SSA benefits by the government, finding an attorney to represent them on their claims against the government will be a rarity if not all but impossible.

    December 21, 2007 at 4:15 pm |
  263. Mary

    Wellllllll......did they go over the top calling the police? Probably. It really depends on what the weapon policy says the consequences are for bringing a weapon (yes, a steak knife in a school is a weapon and could cause death or bodily harm, especially in a school lunch room where MANY children are being 'manned' by a few teachers or worse yet, cafeteria volunteers) to school. Would you want your child sitting beside 'the girl with the sharp knife'? I wouldn't!! Don't forget, that not all 10 year olds are sweet little darlings either. Our school no longer has silverware. That's been gone for years. Not because it is dangerous but because the kids were throwing it away with their garbage. For several years now, our lunch room hasn't had plastic knives and this year, they no longer have forks either. We have 'sporks' which are virtually worthless as silverware but that's it, take it or leave it. I truly believe that the girl's parents have a few screws loose or are the kind of parents who continually 'push the envelope'. Perhaps since they are sending steak (I'm assuming it was cold since it was in her lunch...YUM....NOT), it was more of a statement about WHO they are. Our kids spend a lot of time in school every day and they deserve to be safe.

    December 21, 2007 at 5:52 pm |
  264. David Tapfer

    Dear Jack,

    I noticed how easily the canidades promise government sponsered health care for everyone. I am on Medicare and last year had a simple out patient surgery.
    Checked into the hospital at 11 AM and was released at 3:30 PM.
    Medicare was charged $15,000.00 for the 4 1/2 hours excluding the Doctors fees just the hospital. I felt this was a gross overcharge yet Medicare paid their 80 % without checking.
    Government health care for all residents will go broke the first year or our taxes will approach 100 % of our income.

    David Lee Tapfer

    January 5, 2008 at 8:40 am |