Sharpeners banned.

We do not make a habit of politically-charged posts, but we certainly will not shy away when politics involved pencils and pencil gear:

“A student at Waterloo Primary School in Ashton under Lyne dismantled a pencil sharpener and used the blade as a weapon, slashing another student across the neck. The school’s response? Nothing short of unbelievable.

The attacker was suspended for two days and is now back in school.

Police, who were notified two days later, have spoken to the young attacker and his parents.

Headteacher David Willis has now banned all pencil sharpeners.

They have banned pencil sharpeners. Banned pencil sharpeners. One more time – they banned pencil sharpeners.

The problem here was not the pencil sharpener. It was the wannabe Jack the Ripper who manipulated an ordinary tool to craft a weapon. Would the absence of a pencil sharpener have prevented this kid from his meticulously planned assault? Do they think that a kid who figures out how to use a pencil sharpener as a weapon will have any difficulty in using another tool in a similar fashion?”

Read the rest of the article here.

[Image, J.G.]

15 thoughts on “Sharpeners banned.”

  1. They can have my pencil sharpener when they pry it from my cold graphite stained hands
    or
    When pencil sharpeners are banned only criminals will have pencil sharpeners
    or
    Pencil sharpeners don’t slash people, people slash people

  2. The short suspension indicates perhaps that the student was just goofing around and that the slashing was an accident. In that case, then, the fact that pencil sharpeners, especially the Kum brand, have blades that are obviously made to be removed might mean they aren’t perfect in all settings. To tell you the truth, I was prepared to give mine up when I flew recently. Luckily for me, it didn’t set off the metal detector alarm.

  3. This reminds of a year or so back, when a girl in my school attempted suicide by slashing her wrists during class with the blade from a pencil sharpener.
    Not a pretty scene.

  4. Just about everything has the potential of becoming a weapon. Are they going to ban chairs of someone picks one up and smashes another student?

  5. I made a comment on the site of the story, but note that the story is almost a year old. Wonder if anything’s changed since then, or if that student is still having, er, issues.

  6. Nicely sharp pencils, pens, knitting needles, paint brush handles, even the metal eyeglass pieces–is there no end to the weapons we could use if we needed to?

    I have new security knowing I can fend off an attacker with my pencil sharpener–just give me time to get it detached! (Or should I just use the screwdriver?)

  7. Unfortunately, there is no end to the ingenuity of any idiot to fashion a weapon from common everyday objects such as office supplies, household cleaners and other tools, etc. There are even numerous websites devoted to the subject which I will not bother to promote beyond this comment.

    Banning pencil sharpeners as a response is little different than banning a book because it has questionable content.

    Sorry, Oxhead but the goofing around rationale doesn’t cut it in my book. Violence of one student towards another simply should not be tollerated, period. Even horseplay in the form of tripping, pushing and teasing should be dealt with appropriately as they are first steps to more serious disrespectful and even dangerous behaviour. If a fashioned weapon is involved it’s well behond horseplay or goofing around in my book.

    The fault here at the Primary school level lies:

    1st w/ the parents who fail to teach their children proper values and respect for others and how their actions can be harmful to others if they don’t control themselves

    2nd w/ the schools for failing to deal with even more minor levels of student violence strongly enough and for failing to model, teach and demand appropriate behaviour

    3rd w/ the student who by the 5th or 6th grade ought to be moved up to first place on this list.

    When my own son was in the 7th grade he was asaulted by another student without any provocation. Fortunately, other than the use of a fist there was no weapon involved. The school refused to take any action at all beyond calling the student to the principles office for a talk and speak to his parents. When we had the police investigate, the parents of the child were beligerent and essentially said “Go ahead file charges.” We should have proceeded on principle, but without the support of the school there was little point. We simply worked with our son to learn a lesson how to improve his awareness of potential actions of others that could be harmful to him and to steer clear when he anticipated any trouble.

  8. That’s terrible, Woodchuck. I imagine that it’s hard to know what to say to your son in a situation like that, but I think it’s commendable you that you didn’t just teach him to retaliate and further the cycle of violence. I think you’re right, also: an alarmingly high number of schools are just terrified of the students. Parents, too. I never appreciated how strict my own parents could be when I was a youngin until I met my share of dishonorable people who scared even their families.

  9. Woodchuck: violence is not to be tolerated, but don’t forget that I used the word “accident.” It was stupid of the student to remove the blade, but if he didn’t intend to harm someone with it, then he isn’t guilty of a crime.

    The original piece called it an meticulously planned attack, but that might not be the case. I wouldn’t be surprised if the kid noticed the screw in the pencil sharpener, took off the razor and said to a friend, “Hey, check it out,” and waved the blade around, accidentally cutting someone. I’m not saying that’s how it happened, but the evidence of a minor, two-day suspension indicates that it wasn’t a case of a “meticulously planned” assault and battery. (Also, the fact that the kid wasn’t taken away and put in an institution indicates the same thing. I mean, intentionally slashing someone with a razor is a serious infraction in most communities, even if committed by a third-grader.)

    This incident could lead a school principal to conclude that the temptation to remove the blades from a Kum-type sharpener might be too great for some kids and the safest course would be to ban them.

    I disagree with that rationale, by the way. The best thing to do is to issue a warning and threaten dire punishment for students removing the blades.

  10. I don’t think that the moderate punishment necessarily indicates the intent of the student so much as the way that authority figures let kids get away with too much at an alarming rate these days. Kids get away with doing stupid and destructive things all the time without any punishment, but that doesn’t mean that there was no malicious intent in those cases. What I mean is, I think Woodchuck’s correct that the punishment says more about schools than about what the student did. No one can really know the student’s intent, but the school should be as harsh as they need to be to prevent such destructive behavior.

    But then again, I went to school with strict nuns, so my opinions might be a little skewed:)

  11. I think that the real problem here is hands… if fewer people had hands, it would be much more difficult to perpetrate violent acts against other people. If the sharpener ban doesn’t work, perhaps the school should try amputation.

    Disclaimer: My point is that banning pencil sharpeners is silly. I am not actually suggesting amputation.

  12. Let me explain Ashton under Lyne:
    I’ve been there for work a few times and it’s a rough neighbourhood. There are many more issues then the Parents & School… And banning pencil sharpeners will be having the absolute least of effect to that.

  13. It’s stupid banning pencil sharpeners.Just because one kid(probaly obsessed with murderers).This is not to say that every kid is a shank wielding maniacs.

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