Too harsh? Student suspended for bringing butter knife to lunch

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DeFuniak Springs, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A first-grade student at Maude Saunders Elementary School in DeFuniak Springs was recently suspended for bringing what school officials are considering a potential weapon.

"We had an incident with a student in first grade that did have a butter knife in her possession," Principal Pamela Jones said.

According to Jones, the student was found with the knife while eating lunch in the cafeteria.

"The Assistant Principal acted on the incident, spoke with the parents and initiated the suspension for the safety and well-being of all our students," Jones said.

Although school officials said this is a district-wide policy, many parents said they don't agree with the extent of punishment.

"They should have called the parents, brought the parents in, 'Let's get this student together, get the parent and let's get the guidance counselor together to discuss what had happened and why they should not bring one to school," Willie Moore, who has a second-grade student at Maude Saunders, said.

According to the Walton County School District code of conduct, "Possession of a dangerous item... will constitute a serious breach of conduct requiring administrative disciplinary action and will include suspension or expulsion."

Some said it should be determined on a case by case.

"[It was] just a butter knife," said Moore. "The kid doesn't understand, you know? And [s]he may have wanted to make him [herself] a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Spread his [her] jelly, spread his [her] peanut butter, something or another, you know, but that's just a little much aggressive to me."

"We're just here for the safety and security of all our student and that's our number one goal," Jones explained.

According to the Walton County Sheriff's Office, no crime was committed and disciplinary actions were left to school administrators.