Blissfield student suspended for taking knife on school trip

Honors student Chris Dashner speaks at a Blissfield school board meeting on Monday, April 25, 2011.

A B lissfield H igh S chool J unior is now facing a 10-day suspension for accidentally bringing a pocket knife on a school trip to N ew Y ork C ity.

Honor Student, Chris D ashner says he had the knife in a backpack that he uses for hunting and fishing trips but had forgotten that it was there. W hen he realized he had it, he turned it in to a chaperone.

B ecause of B lissfield's zero-tolerance policy, D ashner had been suspended until the end of the school year. "I totally understand that (policy) and I wanted to be punished for it. However, I don't think 45 days was apt for the circumstances," Dashner says during a packed public meeting at Blissfield High School Monday night. Parent and Blissfield High School Alum Sherry Carter was at the meeting and says, "We have to use common sense here."

Blissfield's High School Principal recommended a 45-day suspension initially. After an outcry of community support and because of his good record, the school board voted to give him 35-days suspension.

School Board Member Noel Eisenmann says, "It is never easy to judge the intent of a student. We have policy that we are supposed to follow. Our main goal is to protect the student body and the other kids that are here. I'm sure that most parents would be uncomfortable knowing that kids are carrying weapons to school."

But a fter a public hearing M onday night, they changed their penalty to a 10-day suspension. "We are bound by law," says Superintendant Scott Moellenberndt, "to have a weapons free school zone with zero tolerance. Unfortunately, he took this knife on a school trip to New York. I'm happy with the due process the school board provided to the Dashner family."

H e also won't be allowed to attend prom, but his mother, Renee Dashner says she is happy that he can maintain his academic standing and they are relieved about the lighter punishment. "I've always been worried about Chris for his academics, making sure that he can stay on the honor roll." She continues, "I'm so glad that they did take the intent and everything into consideration with him."

Do you think this punishment is appropriate? What is this had happened to your child? Leave your comments here.

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