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Middle schooler faces criminal charges for cutting a peach with a butter knife

Trying to teach your children some manners at the table? Don’t send them to school with a set of utensils “made for children to learn how to eat properly.”

An 11-year-old Florida girl who brought a butter knife to school at the behest of her parents is facing potential criminal charges from the local state’s attorney, showing the “folly of overcriminalization,” according to David Rosenthal, a visiting legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Writing in The Daily Signal, Rosenthal blasts school officials and prosecutors for using the criminal justice system to handle “every minor mishap” as a threat to school safety:

The zero tolerance policy prohibits possession of a Class B weapon on school premises. This includes such items as razor blades, nunchakus, shotgun shells, and knives—including “blunt-bladed table knives.” Possession of these weapons is considered a criminal incident and can trigger a host of consequences, including not only a minimum six-day suspension from school, but also a mandatory report to law enforcement. …

Surely, there must be someone along the chain of command with the requisite discretion to understand that an 11-year-old cutting a peach with a child’s butter knife is not the type of evil that a school weapons ban is intended to protect against.

Rosenthal notes it’s not just school officials in wacky Florida who see a kid eating a peach as another potential Columbine: A high schooler in Ohio got suspended for five days for a class presentation on “how to make a healthy breakfast,” and another in California was nearly expelled because his parked car had pocket knives left over from a fishing trip.

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