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What Lesson Is Being Taught by Putting 5th-Grader on Probation for Turning in Knife?

May 11, 2003

Re "Student Punished for Knife; Dad Vows Fight," May 1: I agree with the boy's parents that Keith Post deserves to be commended for contributing to the school's safe environment instead of being punished for holding the weapon in fear that the teacher might think it was his.

The school should have acknowledged the boy's good decision and should have adjusted the district's zero-tolerance policy accordingly.

Pyles Elementary should treat each case considering the pupil's history. Obviously, Keith's flawless disciplinary record should merit him recognition.

Chris B. Rhodes

San Juan Capistrano


As I understand it, a fifth-grader in Stanton who voluntarily turned in a small knife a playmate had found will have done more hard time than Albert Hakim of Iran-Contra fame and Steve Bowden, football coach Bobby Bowden's son who pleaded guilty to swindling $10 million from investors, (including his father) combined.

Kerry Burnside

La Habra


What message is the school district sending to kids? The school's principal acted inappropriately in the matter of this young child's future. If this child had a history of violence and a bad school record, I could see it. However, the school must share in the child's fear of handing in the knife by drilling it into his head that he would get into trouble.

Now I think that no child will now turn in anything. It will now probably end up that if a child finds a "weapon," he or she will just leave it where it is so that someone would possibly get hurt.

Wayne C. Zitter



Keith Post holds a knife for two hours at school because he's afraid of unjustified punishment. When he finally overcomes his fears and decides to trust the authorities, they punish him.

I can see it now. A few years from now, Keith will go to his dad and ask, "What does Kafkaesque mean?" And his dad will tell him, "Remember what happened to you with that knife in the fifth grade? That was Kafkaesque."

Should the good Lord bless me with grandchildren, I will have to teach them, especially in these days of diminished civil liberties, that a greater threat to their safety than knife-wielding peers are cowardly lions in position of authority.

Whatever else happens, Keith and his parents can hold their heads high.

William J. Evans


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