Zero-Tolerance: Pencils


pencil010_cropRecently, in response to a story about a British judge who wanted Sikh boys to be able to bring a knife — the kirpan, an important article of faith for Sikhs — to school, a commenter asked “Do you ever worry about kids grabbing other kid’s pencils and stabbing each other?”  Given that I still have a black scar on my arm from when I was stabbed with a pencil (admittedly, by a sister rather than a classmate), I would have to say yes.  And now there is even more reason to be concerned about implements of literary and physical torture: an 11-year-old boy from New Hartford, NY has been charged with, among other things, criminal possession of a weapon — a pencil.

It seems the boy was angry with a classmate who was trying to help with some math and wouldn’t back off.  The boy struck his self-proclaimed mentor in the neck with his pencil, causing a two inch scratch later treated by the school nurse.  The boy was suspended and charged with felony attempted assault as well as the possession charge.  So is anyone seriously considering adding pencils to the verboten list?  I doubt it, but it does show that kids don’t always know how best to handle the emotions they feel.  Sadly, little of what they see around them, both in real life and in the media, is focused on positive, acceptable ways of expressing intense feelings.

This is an unfortunate situation for everyone involved.  I seriously hope the charges are dropped and the kid learns his lesson.  More importantly, I hope he learns to express himself in a far less violent way.  Because, after all, pencils are everywhere.

Photo: mconnors