Saturday, February 6, 2010
Columbia County Schools: Zero Tolerance or Zero Common Sense?
Martha Hall hardly ever carries a purse to school.
But the junior at Grovetown High School was cold last Tuesday, so she put her gloves on and grabbed an old purse to carry them in. The 18 year old girl was so unaccustomed to using the purse, she mistakenly left it in the cafeteria. When a school official found the abandoned purse, they opened it up to search for identification.
Inside, they found a small ice scraper. It had a small razor on it.
Martha was immediately reported to the sheriff's office and suspended indefinitely. Officers also searched her locker and car.
"They were like, 'It's policy.' I'll probably end up in alternative school," Martha told The Jail Report. "It's definitely a mistake, but the action taken is over-reacting."
Luckily, the sheriff's office saw it for what it was -- a mistake -- and didn't charge her. A sheriff's report states, "Investigation found Ms. Hall had no criminal intent on using the scraper's razor."
The Columbia County school system saw it as a by-the-book violation of their weapons policy.
Martha says she's had the scraper in her old purse since August, when she used it to scrape glue off her windshield. She was replacing a rear-view window in her car and there was glue left on the windshield from the old one. She left it in the purse that she rarely uses. The scraper was only about an inch and a half long, she said.
The Grovetown teen explained that to school officials. They didn't care. She was escorted off school property soon after the discovery.
Martha makes As and Bs in school. She is determined to finish school despite this incident, and will have to wait for a notice about her hearing date.
But the whole incident has left Martha a bit shaken by the system.
"It's extreme over-reacting. I didn't threaten anyone with it," Martha said. "I didn't even know I had it!"
What do you think? Was the school system correct in taking the action they did?