“[It was] just a butter knife”

The Florida first-grader didn’t understand that bringing a butter knife to lunch would get her in trouble with the school. She was suspended under the school’s nondiscretionary discipline policy for possession of “dangerous items.” “We’re just here for the safety and security of all our students and that’s our number one goal,” explained principal Pamela Jones. [WHJG; DeFuniak Springs, Fla.]


  • Wait, the “number one goal” of a SCHOOL is not the education of the kids?

    • Oh, they got educated all right.

  • Wow. The principal ought to be canned for such an Orwellian statement. The issue isn’t whether she’s there for the safety of the kids (that should be table stakes)–but rather this punishment is within the realm of reasonableness. Of course, we all know that the policy is silly, and additionally, we all know that other non-discretionary rules are bent all the time, and many times for the teachers at the school. We also know that “dangerous item” is a very malleable term, and no first grader could possibly ever understand it, which means, of course, that the punishment is a cruel joke.

  • What it means is. “I followed policy. My ass is covered.”

  • Well if the unions didn’t run everything in public education, I would submit that Ms Jones clearly demonstrated by these actions that she lacks the intelligence necessary to hold the position of elementary school principal and therefore should be fired or demoted.

    Alas were she to be fired or demoted, the arbitrator at the grievance hearing would award her reinstatement, back pay and a tidy sum for emotional distress.

    Yet another example of how citizens, in this case a child, pay the price for soft public corruption.

  • Not quite on point, but here is a recent ruling by the CA Second DCA:


    Same also available here:

    > Filed 4/20/17
    > …
    >In re B.M., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.
    > …
    > A common butter knife is designed to cut and spread butter. In the
    > hand of a person bent on assaulting another, it may be a useful tool
    > to inflict great bodily injury. Consistent with an express direction
    > from the California Supreme Court (People v. McCoy (1944) 25 Cal.2d
    > l77, l88-189) and time-honored rules on appeal, we conclude that the
    > trial court’s factual finding that the instant butter knife was a
    > deadly weapon must be affirmed on appeal.
    > …

    Of course, almost any object can be a “dangerous item” or a deadly weapon if used as such with requisite intent.

  • Has anyone ever actually been caused great bodily harm with a butterknife? Choke hazard? Died laughing? It doesn’t cut butter, butter isn’t a true solid, except when frozen, at which time a butterknife will not cut it, or separate a thin part from the rest of the block. You might could kill someone with a butterknife as long as you had a hammer to drive it in, in which case, why not simply kill them with the hammer and skip the entire butterknife use in the first place? We are all talking about a lightweight, flat piece of metal which isn’t actually sharpened but has a few teeth along one edge???

    • Cecil,

      In answer to your question, I think that would depend on your definition of “great” in “great bodily harm.”

      A Google search of “butter knife assault” shows more incidents than I would have thought:

      Here are some quotes from articles:

      “The victim was wearing a torn shirt and had cuts on her chest and left hand, according to the 52-year-old suspect’s Fort Walton Beach Police Department arrest report.”

      Different incident:

      “The victim was not taken to the hospital but was advised to go to urgent care to get stitches.”

      Different incident:

      “There were multiple bloody napkins on the ground near him.

      Warner told police that Martinez was staring at him and his female friends at his table, documents state. Martinez then went over to Warner’s table. At that point, Martinez allegedly stabbed Warner in the head with a butter knife, documents state.”

      I think these incidents show that you can cause injury and you can draw blood. Whether that goes as far as “great bodily injury” is up to you and other readers.

  • cecil,

    Come on you know that a butter knife is a gateway weapon to a steak knife.
    A steak knife is a gateway weapon to a butcher knife.
    A butcher knife is a gateway weapon to a switchblade.
    A switchblade is a gateway weapon to a gun.

    So in her eyes she just stopped a mass shooting.

    Sarcasm off.

  • ” why not simply kill them with the hammer and skip the entire butterknife use in the first place?”

    Maybe you are trying to kill a werewolf and all you have is a hammer and a silver butter knife. 🙂

  • I recall about forty-five yeas ago, one Sunday morning at the college dorm, waking up to discover that — as near as I could reconstruct the events — one freshman had come in from an evening of fraternity parties to discover someone else had spent all of Saturday evening studying and writing papers. To express his disapproval of time spent in such anti-social behavior instead of getting drunk on Pittsburgh Brewing’s Pale Stale Ale, the happy celebrator grabbed all the papers, tore them up and threw them about, whereupon the object of his derision stabbed him with a pen or pencil in the neck, sending him to the hospital.

    I seem to recall the consensus being this was understandable, if a bit of an overreaction.

    You will notice that there is no effort to take pens or pencils from the students. In fact, the last time I was in a principal’s office, there were a lot of them around, suitable for arming the psychopaths.


  • Upon further thought, this concept of “dangerous items” as applied is really idiotic.

    What is a dangerous item? I would submit it depends on the situation, intent and actions of the individual.

    Peanuts & eggs. Yummy delicious food….except to those with deadly allergies. Dangerous Item? No and yes, depending on the situation and individuals.

    As mentioned above, a pen.is not only a stabbing instrument but an improvised kuboton. Dangerous Item? Only if being used as a stabbing instrument or kuboton.

    As I look at my desk, there’s my engineers scale (do an image search) – foot long, triangular, to pointed edges. Perfect for measuring drawings…..or creasing a head with a blow. Dangerous Item? Only to bean counters that get in the way of proper engineering work (joke, joke….)

    Rock on the play field at the school in question. Dangerous Item? Only when hurled at windows. Otherwise, natural left over from the last ice age (see glacial till).