16/10/2009 09:10 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Schoolboy Suspended For Bringing Camping Cutlery To School

A six-year-old American boy is being suspended from school for using his favourite camping cutlery to eat his lunch.

Zachary Christie reportedly brought his combination knife, fork and spoon in to his school in Newark, Delaware - breaking the rule about not bringing knives into the building.

This sounds like a reasonably sensible policy in theory but it appears the school has massively over-reacted.

Originally Zachary was "sentenced" to spend 45 days at an alternative school for troublemakers.

The school board then decided this was too harsh and the boy should be suspended for between three and five days. Finally, the school board has seen sense and overturned the decision to suspend the boy, based on his age.

The whole process seems absolutely bonkers but Downes Elementary School says it has a zero tolerance policy on knives, banning them as dangerous instruments.

School officials say they were forced to act in spite of Zachary's age and regardless of what he planned to do with the knife.Board member John Mackenzie told the Associated Press: "Politically, zero tolerance is what everybody clamours for, until we start to realise how harsh zero tolerance can be."

However, apparently in other cases school officials have decided to ignore the policy and Mr Mackenzie says he is surprised this has not happened in Zachary's case.

Zachary and his mother say they support the policy but the punishment is too harsh, despite having been reduced for the school's youngest students.

Debbie Christie, Zachary's mother, told AP: "I want to get him back as soon as possible. I want to put this behind him as soon as possible.

"But I also want him to know that he has a voice, and when things are not right, he can stand up and speak out against them."

Last year a five-year-old girl in the same school district was reportedly expelled after bringing a birthday cake and a knife to cut it with to school, although this was later overturned.

What do you think? Is the punishment too severe? Or does the school have to stick to its zero-tolerance policy?

Source: BBC