Typically, when one hears the words Eagle Scout, they bring a rather positive connotation. I have a nephew who earned the honor and I have great respect for his accomplishment. But, it seems that even an Eagle Scout comes in second place to the vaunted “zero-tolerance” policy in the Lansingburgh Central School District of Troy,NY.
Our Eagle Scour in question is named Matthew Whalen. He says he was suspended for 4 weeks for having a 2 inch pocketknife in his vehicle. The knife, a gift from Whalen’s grandfather,police chief in a neighboring town, was discovered during a search of the young man’s car done by school officials. As an aside, wonder why the search was done? But, I digress.
The suspension is almost over and Whalen is due to return to school tomorrow. His parents want his record expunged of the offense, as Whalen intends to apply to West Point later in the school year.
So far, they have not heard at all from Superintendent George Goodwin, who actually had the discretion as to what punishmnet to mete out for possession of the knife; what the district calls viloent conduct. There is no zero tolerance policy that required him to apply the suspension that he did. He has stuck to his guns, so to speak, at least to this point.
Attorney Victor DeBonis has agreed to represent the family pro bono( good deal for him with the publicity, of course) and hopes to avoid a lawsuit. The school board meets on October 27 and the family and their attorney hope that action will be taken then or at a special meeting.
Barring a satisfactory response from the school board, DeBonis plans to contact the state education commissioner. By the way, that individual is one David Steiner who only took his oath of office on October 1.
Don’t you imagine that there are people hoping this will all go away and wondering how to avoid the less than flattering light in which the Lansingburgh district has been placed. One thing puzzles me. Doesn’t this kind of thing usually happen in California rather than upstate New York? Guess not
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