A Moment of Silence for the Death of Common Sense.

A girl in Florida is arrested for possession of a steak knife at school.

I'd like to take a moment and mourn the loss of any and all hope I once had for institutionalised education.

What happens when you create taboos in a school? If you know any students in grades one through twelve, I'm sure you're familiar with plenty of examples of these sorts of things (cell phones, digital pets, skanky shirts, roller shoes) and I'm pretty sure that you'll agree that a change in school policy about [item] will often make that item more popular among students. A the very least, it raises awareness--which has unintended consequences. Censorship, for example, is intended to silence something and instead gives it a louder voice.

More to the point, if we never told children that steak knives could be used as weapons, I'm quite confident that they would never be used as such. Not by the kinds of students that these rules will affect, anyway; the ones who would use a steak knife for murder could use all sorts of implements for murder.
Knives are not weapons; knives are knives. We can categorize the use: Weapons are implements used to assault people, tools are implements used to perform specific forms of work, writing utensils are implements used to write (and so forth). To say "the steak knife is a potential weapon" is (at least, in Canadian law) first a moot point, and second (at least, in the case of 99% of our students) an indicator to our students that we are afraid of the world around us (and of the possibilities that they represent as individuals), and that they should be afraid too--unless they want to rebel against our doctrine of fear, in which case the fear becomes realized as their power over us.

School administrators who imply an unrealistic danger to an entire generation of schoolchildren are going to see (and are seeing) the unintended consequences. We've let an entire generation know about all the dangerous things in the world that they will be doing if they become "bad kids," and the generation is ready and willing to take that list and test the boundaries of "bad," one item at a time.
Some of these students are discovering that they like being "bad" more than they like being sheeple/manipulated/afraid.

Someone else has said in this discussion of the case at hand that "realistically anyone can be killed at any time, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. ...Once you understand that, you are much more able to simply enjoy living." I agree-but not because the recognition of danger makes me less afraid of danger, rather, it's the recognition of what makes the danger--the understanding that good people don't kill other people, the distinctions of ethical codes in society--that really makes life less fearful. We don't fear all of the things we don't understand, but we do fear whatever we project our fear onto. Stop projecting fear onto knives/pot/video games/rap music and start projecting it somewhere that you can actually do something about--into your own actions, into the things you do and say that contradict your commitments and other ethical "values." Maybe then our students will learn something helpful--not "steak knives might become weapons" but "all people are selfish, but good people recognise their own hypocrisy and try to do good in spite of it."

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