14 Oct 2014

Honor student who brought pocketknife to school suspended for the year

The Dearborn Heights District 7 Board of Education chose a less severe punishment for the honor student who was initially expelled after a pocketknife was found in her purse at a football game.
On Monday, after two hours of deliberation, the board voted 6-0 to allow Atiya Haynes to take online classes. She then will be able to graduate with her class in 2015.
The decision still came as a blow to college-bound Haynes, who participated in numerous extracurricular activities including sports.
School officials discovered the knife as she was exiting a bathroom at the game when they searched her purse. 
Haynes says the pocketknife was a gift from her grandfather who gave it to her for protection because her summer job required her to ride her bike from southwest Detroit to Dearborn.
She reluctantly accepted it and says she forgot it was in her purse.
The school board felt there was no intent to support the zero tolerance statute, but felt the student needed to be punished and violated school policy for bringing the weapon.
Haynes felt that the board had its minds made up before the meeting.
"I'm disgusted," she said. "I can't believe that ... no empathy. Put your child in this situation. Every time you forget your keys to your house, think of me. Think of this honest mistake. I'm a human being. I'm 17 years old. It's disgusting that you can sleep at night knowing that you can potentially ruin somebody's life."
"Every discipline issue that comes to us as a school board is a blow to a student," said. Tim Thieken, District 7 superintendent. "I think that she presented her case tonight but at the same time, as a school board, we are upheld by the state of Michigan to uphold the laws of the state of Michigan."


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