It’s Toolbox Tuesday!! What better time to talk about how to measure the blade of a knife!
This came up in a case from Pennsylvania after a charter school principal ordered the removal of a student to an alternative setting based on “special circumstances.” Specifically, the kid had possession of a knife at school.
The principal declared the knife to be a “dangerous weapon” under federal law, thus enabling him to pull Tool #5 out of the Toolbox. Tool #5 allows for an immediate removal of up to 45 school days, regardless of whether the behavior is a manifestation of disability or not.
But was it a “dangerous” weapon? The parents argued that it was not. The statute tells us that a knife with a blade of less than 2.5 inches is not “dangerous.” So this case turned on the length of the blade.
That should be pretty simple, right? You get the knife and a ruler and you lay them side by side. In this case, the blade measured exactly 2.5 inches. But that’s if you measure the entire length of the blade, from tip to handle. The parents argued that you should not include the part of the blade closest to the handle. That part (which I have now learned is called “the tang”) was not capable of cutting anything but soft butter. If you measured it that way, the blade was 2.25 inches.
What’s a hearing officer to do? Order both sides to file memos spelling out their positions and citing authority. And believe it or not, both sides found some legal precedent that arguably supported its position. But the hearing officer thought that the school had the better argument. The ruling was that a knife blade should be measured from tip to handle, including the parts that actually cut, and the parts that do not.
Interesting stuff, huh? This is the type of thing we talk about in the all day Toolbox Training. Let me know if you are interested.
The case of Propel Charter Schools was decided by the hearing officer on November 4, 2016. We found it at Special Ed Connection, 116 LRP 48618.
DAWG BONE: YOU MEASURE A KNIFE BLADE FROM TIP TO HANDLE. THIS MIGHT COME UP AT THANKSGIVING….YOU NEVER KNOW.
File this one under: SPECIAL EDUCATION DISCIPLINE
Tomorrow: more on SB 179—the bullying/cyberbullying/bullycide bill.