Derry Township School District Considers 'Common Sense' Changes to Weapons Policy

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, December 22, 2011

When is a cake knife like a shotgun? When a student takes that cake knife to a Derry Township School District building to celebrate a birthday.

But that could change next month.

Recognizing the need to be more flexible when it comes to its weapons policy, on Jan. 9 the district will consider a proposal that would give the superintendent the option to recommend no disciplinary action if a student innocently brings a utensil to school.

The district is reviewing its policies after an elementary student was suspended for half a day for bringing a camping tool complete with a fold-out fork, spoon and knife to lunch to eat an orange.

Several other local districts — including Camp Hill and Central Dauphin — have changed their weapon policies this year to comply with new reporting requirements.

Included within those policies is language allowing superintendents to use their discretion when handling violations of their schools’ weapon policies.

It’s part of a gradual shift away from the zero-tolerance policies that were enacted following a wave of school violence in the 1990s.

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