Published October 12, 2009
Six-year-old Zachary Christie was so excited to become a Cub Scout that he brought his camping utensil to school. The tool serves as a spoon, a fork and a knife, and Zachary wanted to use it at lunch.
What Zachary didn't know was that the gizmo violated his school's zero-tolerance policy on weapons. And now the Christina School District in Newark, Del., has suspended the first grader and ordered him to attend the district's reform school for 45 days.
Zachary's parents insist their son did not intend to hurt anyone, and they are fighting to overturn the ruling.
"Zachary wears a suit and tie some days to school by his own choice because he takes school so seriously," Zachary's mother, Debbie Christie, told the New York Times. "He is not some sort of threat to his classmates."
The school district, in a statement, said rules are rules and defended its decision to suspend the boy.
"At this time, the Student Code of Conduct does not take into consideration a child's age in a Level three offense," the statement read.
"This is the first incident this year involving a student under the age of seven in possession of a dangerous instrument. Christina School District staff and the Christina Board of Education are constantly examining ways to improve policies regarding student discipline."
At a meeting with the school disciplinary committee last week, Zachary's karate instructor and his mother’s fiancé made the case for the boy's character.
And Zachary's mother has started a Web site to attract support for her son before a meeting of the school board on Tuesday.