Two stories illustrating what school is like these days
A 17-year-old Eagle Scout in upstate New York has been barred from stepping foot on school grounds for 20 days — for keeping a 2-inch pocketknife locked in a survival kit in his car.
Matthew Whalen, a senior at Lansingburgh Senior High School, says he follows the Boy Scout motto and is always prepared, stocking his car with a sleeping bag, water, a ready-to-eat meal — and the knife, which was given to him by his grandfather, a police chief in a nearby town.
But Lansingburgh High has a zero-tolerance policy, and when school officials discovered that Whalen kept his knife locked in his car, he says, they suspended him for five days — and then tacked on an additional 15 after a hearing.
The incident is similar to the case of Zachary Christie, a 6-year-old Cub Scout in Delaware who faces up to 45 days in his district’s reform school for bringing a scout utensil that can be used as a fork, spoon and knife to school. But for Whalen — who has received an award from the Boy Scouts of America for saving a life and completed 10 weeks of basic military training last summer — the stakes are much higher:
He is concerned that the blot on his school record could kill his dream of attending West Point. . . .
The second story is from California:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, has signed a law setting aside a day to commemorate Harvey Milk, a gay San Francisco politician who was shot dead three decades ago.
Under the measure, 22 May will be declared Harvey Milk day in California, coinciding with Milk's birthday. While it will not be a state holiday, schools will be encouraged to hold lessons "remembering the life of Harvey Milk, recognising his accomplishments and familiarising pupils with the contributions he made to this state". . . .