Expelled for Possession of a Butter Knife

  1. 14-Year-Old Suspended, Expelled After Busted With Knife

    ABC News Law & Justice Unit
    Oct. 22, 2007

    A South Carolina high school freshman has been expelled from school for possession of a butter knife.
    Amber Dauge was by all accounts a good student at Goose Creek High School. She had joined the Junior ROTC program and was a member of the school's chorus. But she says officials have overreacted to an honest mistake.

    "I know I made a really stupid decision, but I don't think I should be expelled for it," Amber told WCIV-TV, the ABC affiliate in Charleston, which first broke the story.
    "She was at home making toast and she looked up, saw the clock, and said, "Oh I'm going to be late," her stepfather, Steven Heinz, explained to ABC News' Law & Justice Unit.

    "She ran out the door and locked herself out with the butter knife still in her hand."
    "Now, she could have rang the doorbell and got us up and left the butter knife at home," Heinz said.

    "And she could have dropped the knife on the porch, I guess. And I guess she could have, when she got to school, walked in and turned it in [school officials] … but she left it in her locker and forgot about it."

    Heinz said Amber opened her locker a week later, and the butter knife fell out. A fellow student made a wisecrack about the knife that was overheard by a teacher, who reported it to school officials, according to Heinz.

    Amber was immediately suspended for five days, pending an expulsion hearing that officials say was mandatory under by the school's "zero tolerance" policy toward weapons or potential weapons.

    "To a certain extent, we were understanding when they called us down and said 'We have to put her on this five-day suspension,'" Heinz said. "At first I thought it was just a scare tactic. 'They want to make an impression' is what I was thinking."
    Amber "went into the other room and started crying" when the school contacted her parents to notify them of the suspension and impending expulsion hearing, her stepfather said.

    Heinz and his wife, Kristi, Amber's mother, took time off work to attend the expulsion hearing on Oct. 18. On one side of the table was Heinz, his wife and Amber. On the other, Heinz said, were two assistant principals and a Berkeley County Schools District hearing officer.

    At the hearing, administrators "read through all the stuff and every one of her teachers had good things to say about her," Heinz said.

    Teachers described Amber as "a very sweet girl" who is "pleasant" and "respectful," according to documents provided to ABC News by her family.

    Asked whether she ever had any discipline problems at school or had a criminal record, Heinz said that she did not.

    "She's never a problem," he said. "She's not one of those kids who you have to struggle with to get out of bed and to school. She gets up before we do. She likes school."


    That's a little harsh. I understand what they're trying to do, but maybe they should have questioned her about it and taken it.

    My dad accidentally brought his little Swiss Army Knife to the airport with him. (It was his key chain.) Security at Heathrow Airport took it. They didn't arrest him. They just said, "Sorry, we're going to have to take that."

    I think the school was focusing too much on the knife and not the intention / reason behind it. I also think they were reacting to that joke the student made. The article didn't say but I would imagine it was something along the lines of, "Don't stab anyone with it!"

    Maybe the school should have penalized the other student for making that joke.
  2. Whatever. Those authorities need other hobbies aka a focus on helping to change their messed up gun laws.
  3. It was obviously an honest mistake. All her teachers had good things to say about her, she was known as being a good girl. It was a butter knife, not a kitchen knife. Expelling her is extreme.

    Kids that fight like 5 times a school year don't even get expelled, they keep getting suspended.
  4. Schools pass those "zero tolerance" policies but no one understands the implications until it affects them directly. Zero tolerance means just that. Not "zero tolerance for those with a GPA of 3.0 or lower". I'm not saying it's right, I'm just pointing out the fact that the zero tolerance rules sound good at the time, but end up being rather extreme.
  5. A butter knife isn't a weapon... that is ridiculous and you have to feel for the poor student who is involved.
  6. Political correctness leads to zero tolerance. It is just a way of not having to make any type of moral or ethically-challenged decision.

    Does anyone practice "zero tolerance" in their everyday life?
  7. This poor girl! She must be devastated. I hope she can get back into school soon. I think that school officials take some things WAY too far. I can see some punishment, but not expulsion! I remember back when I was in elementary my grandmother packed a butter knife in my lunch if I needed to spread something or cut something, No one thought anything of it:nogood: I don't think you can seriously hurt anyone with a butter knife anyway:shrugs:
  8. The same thing happened in our city a few years ago, only I think the child was only seven at the time. It was kind of along that same line, where the child had used the knife to make a sandwich, I think.
  9. all for a butter knife? I know that it is still a knife and it shouldn't be at school, but come on...butter knives can't really CUT anything. Poor girl. Expelling is so extreme, but I could see maybe a dentention. Schools are just getting crazy these days.
  10. I think being expelled is a little harsh..I would have figured it to be a 3 day suspension thing or a fine.
  11. So many school policies today are so frustrating and stupid. It drives me crazy! Its only a butterknife and she a great student! I dont think shes going to go around and stab everyone.
  12. that's pretty silly. especially since her parents and teachers backed her up.
  13. I see both sides... yes it is most likely 99% a honest mistake, but what if all the other situations like these claiming to be honest mistakes, are not? From my POV I think authorities are just trying their best to prevent and deal with things like these...
  14. wow we must be very tolerant in my country, we are never ever checked for weapons in class (or entering school) I have even brought a chopping knife to school in cut my mango. We have hospitality students whom are expected to carry around their own a set of knives to and from class. The school merely suggests that they that a lock in the case that they fall into the wrong hands.
  15. My first reaction was "oh this poor girl, she shouldnt be expelled". But then I think like plushkitty was saying, and I know it's a difficult situation.

    My heart goes out to this girl, she's a good student and all, I hope she can find a new school.