5th Grader’s Swiss Army Knife on Nature Trip = Forced to Eat & Sleep in Isolation

Readers — This is the surreal story of a 10-year-old who brought a Swiss Army Knife with him on a 5-day nature trip and was treated like a terrorist in training. According to The Daily Caller, the boy’s dad was summoned to cut short a business trip about 100 miles way and immediately come pick up his miscreant:

The school principal, Brandi Hucko, allegedly wanted Bandermann to rush to the site of the science camp, pick Braden up for a one-day suspension and then deliver him back to camp.

Bandermann told The Daily Caller that he was frustrated over Hucko’s insistence “that I risk my job and go get him out of the program for a one-day suspension all over a Swiss Army knife.”

The multi-tool instrument did not present a threat, Bandermann believes.

“I went to the very same trip when I was a child at the same school, and I had a very similar Swiss Army knife,” he said. “In fact, most of the kids did.”

Principal Hucko disagreed. According to Bandermann, she was adamant that punishment must be swift and severe.

In the end, the boy served at-camp detention. He was isolated from the other kids, forced to eat his meals alone for a day and sleep away from his fellow students.

This story is disturbing not just because of the bizarrely rigid idea that any knife in any circumstance = immediate threat. What’s worse is that, as the dad said, a generation ago most kids were carrying pen knives. That means that, back then, the school, the parents and the kids themselves expected young people to actually DO some things on their own — cut, whittle, sharpen, open, make, defend, tinker, fix. Taking away pen knives to keep kids “safe” is actually doing the opposite: It is making kids less safe, by turning them into helpless blobs. Now they have to wait for adults to do everything for them. The principal has effectively crippled them. Way to go!

But there is one upside to these Zero Tolerance stories. As they pile up, maybe, just maybe, administrators will start to flash on them when deciding how to handle “dangers” like a boy and his Swiss Army Knife (or Pop-Tart gun, or imaginary grenade), rather than flashing on Sandy Hook.  – L

Watch out! There’s a boy — and he’s prepared!

UPDATE: As far as women, men, boys, girls and knives, yours truly is A) Founder of this site. B) A woman. C) Fine with kids and knives, after they’ve been taught how to use them. Proud mom of two Scouting sons required to bring their knives to campouts!

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131 Responses to 5th Grader’s Swiss Army Knife on Nature Trip = Forced to Eat & Sleep in Isolation

  1. hineata April 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Oops, Pam from the post below, I spoke too soon, sadly.

    This is insane, unless the particular boy concerned is a miscreant who has been repeatedly warned not to bring a knife. There are some students of mine, for example, that I wouldn’t trust with a metal spoon, let alone a knife. However, one hopes those sort of kids would have been left behind in the first place. If this is an ordinary sensible kid, then kudos to him for having one of these very useful implements, and I hope someone gets the principal to see reason, and the boy gets an apology.

  2. Silver Fang April 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    Back in the 1800s, boys used to bring their hunting rifles with them to school to use during lunch recess and after school. What a shame that things considered normal only a few generations ago are so taboo now.

  3. Jay M. April 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    Stupid people. Stupid leaders. Completely useless in the real world. They should be fired since they are totally, completely brainless.

    As a scout leader for 30 years, this means I should have suspended/expelled/demanded stupid parental responses for NOT bringing a knife! What is wrong with these people???

  4. SKL April 27, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    Wait a minute, they made him sleep in isolation? What the hell does that mean? Please don’t tell me they put him alone in a room with an adult!

    People are stupid. I get more convinced every day.

    Then again, who am I to talk? Today my 6yo excitedly chirped out, “I know how to turn on the TV!” Should that make me proud or . . . not so proud?

  5. Captain America April 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    Perhaps women simply aren’t as familiar with pocketknives as men are. It seems like an awful lot of these kinds of banal stupidities come when the authority is female. Frank confession here: as an 11-12 year old I’d carry a pocket knife to school sometimes, sometimes a Johnny handwarmer heater if I was walking in the wintertime, sometimes small battery-powered toy motors, little flashlights and other gadgets. There’s a toy factor involved here.

  6. Taradlion April 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    When I went to camp as a kid, a jackknife was on the packing list. When I asked, I was told by the director at my daughter’s sleep-away camp that, “We’d prefer she not bring a jackknife, but if she does, the counselors will need to hold onto it for her.”

    Recently, I taught my 8 year old to use a jackknife for a school project. (Believe it or not he was making an APPROVED spear and bow and arrow). He was so excited he stripped the bark and whittled about 20 long sticks one afternoon. He asked if he could bring in his knife for show -and-tell.( Nope, sorry). When he showed his project to the teacher and told her all he had done (used a jackknives and a glue gun, burned his finger), his teacher looked at me and said, “You’re the coolest mom ever”….What she actually meant, “most mom’s would never let their kids use a jackknife and glue gun.” The kids in his class asked, “did he REALLY use a jackknife?”…it’s a JACKKNIFE, not a chainsaw!

  7. Taradlion April 27, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    *most moms would never…

    wish we could edit comments

  8. Sarah in WA April 27, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    “Perhaps women simply aren’t as familiar with pocketknives as men are. It seems like an awful lot of these kinds of banal stupidities come when the authority is female. ”

    I can say at least in my case that this definitely isn’t true. I was a Campfire Girl and part of camp was learning how to use a pocket knife (which of course meant you had to bring one).

    Sweeping generalizations serve no one. Let’s please not make this a gender issue. Calling female authority stupid is . . . well, sexist and inaccurate.

  9. hineata April 27, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    @Captain America – might be just this particular female principal. I used to take my pocket knife to school too for whittling purposes when I was eleven or twelve. Quite a few of us did – it made a change from swinging on the monkey bars. Mine wasn’t anywhere near as cool as this kid’s, though it did have a pig sticker. Never did come across a pig to stick it into, sadly :-)

  10. Taradlion April 27, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    Hmmm, Sorry Captain….I’m a mom. Loved my Swiss Army knife as a kid. Have a small one on my key chain. In my comment above, I had given my daughter a Swiss Army knife (that her camp “preferred she not bring”)….

  11. Walter Underwood April 28, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Duh. You take the knife away until the person has demonstrated that they know how to use it safely. Here is a good model, the “Totin’ Chip” from the Boy Scouts:


  12. SKL April 28, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    Captain America, was that really necessary? Who do you think has wielded knives the most throughout history? That’s right, the people who prep meals – including women and girls – even little girls. :/

    In fact, it’s usually men who are guilty of preventing their daughters from doing anything “dangerous.”


    In all the stories I’ve seen about knives on kids, it’s never the parents (male or female) worrying about it. It’s always some one involved with an institution – school, scouts, whatever. Someone who is afraid of liability if anyone gets nicked, or possibly, someone who doesn’t even have kids.

  13. maggie April 28, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    More insanity. I wonder, do they eat with sporks at camp? Is all food pre-cut into bite size pieces beforehand so the children won’t need to touch a dangerous weapon to eat a meal?

  14. Krista April 28, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    *pulls hair out*

    I’m getting seriously sick of all the lady bashing here. Please, please, please, stop with the sweeping generalizations. This woman did something illogical. That doesn’t mean every woman, or even most women, do so.

    I have a pocket knife. My kids help me chop veggies for dinner with steak knives, and they’re 5 and 3. When they’re the traditional age of 8 they will get their own knives, the boy and the girl.

    Gah. Stop making women out to be the break down in the system. It’s just not true.

  15. Irina April 28, 2013 at 1:15 am #

    @Krista, in our family the traditional age to get one’s own knife is 9 (though I an all my daughters knew how to use knives safely long before that).

  16. Irina April 28, 2013 at 1:17 am #

    Argh, and forgot to say what I wanted to say: when my daughters went to church camp a knife was on the packing list. They had to prove to an adult they could use it safely the first time they used it.

  17. gap.runner April 28, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    Stupid! Back when I was a Girl Scout, I went to a 10-day sleepover camp for two summers. A jackknife was one of the things on our required packing list. We used it during the camp too.

    My son is in a mixed German-American Boy Scout troop and he is required to bring his knife (he has a Leatherman tool, which is essentially the same thing) to the meetings. The boys’ backpacks are inspected at the beginning of the meetings to ensure that they have their “10 Essentials.” A knife is one of them. The boys are required to bring their knives (and the other Essentials) with them on hikes and campouts. When my son does hikes and camping trips with German or Austrian Scout troops (called “Pathfinders” here), all of the kids have a knife and are expected to know how to use it properly.

  18. Virginia April 28, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    The school district in this story is in the town next to mine. That particular school district may be a little loonier than average on the subject of weapons. Some years ago, our friends’ son (at another elementary school in the district) was sent to the principal’s office because his state report on Texas had a picture of a gun on the cover.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Also, “Captain America,” I’m a woman and I carried a penknife with me almost everywhere from 7th grade until I was in my 30s, when metal detectors became so common that the knife became more of a hindrance than a help. This is not an issue about gender, or even about one particular principal — it’s about policy run amok.

  19. dancing on thin ice April 28, 2013 at 1:55 am #

    25 years ago someone I worked with found a Swiss Army knife. Since he was always losing things he sold it to me for $5 figuring he could borrow it if he needed to use it. I still use it almost every day.

    Are they worried about the rumor that as a board member of the company that sells the official Swiss Army knife, O.J. Simpson visited their headquarters?

  20. Donald April 28, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    I had a 22 year old room mate. One day the button fell off of his pants. I offered to loan him my sewing kit to put the button back on. He laughed at me “WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT I KNOW HOW TO SEW?”

    Wow! How helpless can you be? He told me other stories of how his anxiety was driving him nuts and how his mother always waited on him hand and foot.

    That seems to be the trend. Make kids helpless. Treat them as too stupid to do anything right. Consider them to be terrorist if they eat a pop tart in the shape of a gun. THEN WONDER WHY THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE RESPONSIBLE ADULTS WHEN THEY GET OLDER.

    If they get treated as stupid helpless morons long enough, they start to believe it and they will become stupid helpless morons.

  21. Kay April 28, 2013 at 2:02 am #

    I am so tired of this fear-driven society where adults have seemed to have lost their mind and all perspective.

    I am glad the father told it like it is. “This is not Sandy Hook,” he said. “Get real. He brought a stupid Swiss Army knife to camp.”

    Some lady stood up at the latest school board meeting asking what is the board going to do about more school security. Security theater, that’s what she wants because that is all it is.

    Lenore needs to market some kind of seminar or intervention for school districts in order for everybody to calm the f- down!

  22. DaveS April 28, 2013 at 2:04 am #

    Think the appropriate response from father to kid would be: Your principal is an idiot, now how about we go have fun together.

  23. Ben April 28, 2013 at 5:52 am #

    I’m assuming the kids have to eat with plastic forks and spoons too, because if a pocket knife poses a threat, cutlery should fall in the same category. If the school administration was consistent, they’d know how utterly ridiculous they were being.

    Also, they should do their job. If you are going to punish a student while on a camping trip, you should not expect their parents to drop everything (including their job) and pick them up unless the kid is seriously injured and in need of hospital treatment.

  24. Kaye April 28, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    If you read the orginal article, it is clear that it is DISTRICT WIDE policy, not just a principal gone mad. “No Tolerance” means the principal is literally not allowed to make exceptions based on the facts.


  25. BL April 28, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    “the principal is literally not allowed to make exceptions based on the facts”

    She was just following orders!

  26. Andy April 28, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    “Perhaps women simply aren’t as familiar with pocketknives as men are.”

    Yeah, cause traditionally woman used to cut the meat and vegetables for food by their bare hand.

    “It seems like an awful lot of these kinds of banal stupidities come when the authority is female. ”

    Nope, it is just that some people assume that everything bad is caused by woman and woman can do only bad. If the woman does not enforce such rules, she is considered too soft and unfit for leadership. If she enforce them, then it is bad too.

    Such statement say more about you then about woman.

  27. Patti April 28, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    So we take multi-tools away from kids using them in a reasonable environment (camp) where they could learn to use them safely.

    Then, when they’re adults, we think it’s OK to let them carry guns around to protect themselves against “bad guys”?

    Seems like a safety nightmare to raise a generation who can’t do anything for themselves as children but to let them carry weapons as soon as they become adults.

  28. Patrick April 28, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Two questions: Is the district policy significantly and explicitly different from the state code? Did the blade have a mechanism to lock it into place? The state code explicitly defines a knife as “any dirk, dagger, or
    other weapon with a fixed, sharpened blade fitted primarily for stabbing, a weapon with a blade fitted primarily for stabbing, a weapon with a blade longer than 3 1/2 inches, a folding knife with a blade that locks into place, or a razor with an unguarded blade.”

    Assuming the pocket knife blade was shorter than 3.5 inches, the only way this could have violated the code was if the blade locked in place. Most small scout-type multi-tool knives don’t have a locking mechanism, although larger ones often do.

    I don’t know about district policy, but unless the district law is substantially different from the state educational code, the Principal was completely in the wrong

  29. Captain America April 28, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Leatherman tools are neat and I’m sure that I would have carried one with me to school back then.

  30. Eleanor April 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    You say “as these stories pile up” but I’m 23 and I’ve been watching these stories pile up since I was in middle school and a European kid whose parents didn’t understand zero tolerance nearly got expelled for bringing a serrated knife to cut a grapefruit in a low-crime school in my overall low-crime district. All I see is parents losing all their reasonableness . . . and soon enough kids in my generation who were privileged enough to be helicoptered will be parents ourselves.

  31. Regan April 28, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    seriously, he had to sleep in isolation? They’re damaging the kid more by keeping him away from his classmates because the shame factor is so great. It was a pocket knife. If the prinicple was so worried about it, take it away, tell him not to bring it again and then let him go. This was way overreacting, it was a pocket knife not a machete.

  32. SKL April 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    My nephew has his Eagle Scout ceremony next weekend. Should I buy him a butter knife or a gps chip? Decisions, decisions.

  33. Emily April 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    @SKL–Sadly, I knew a girl in university whose mother was tracking her via a GPS chip in her cell phone.

  34. Puzzled April 28, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    “the principal is literally not allowed to make exceptions based on the facts”

    Assume she would be fired if she made an exception (not likely.) Does this sound like a job worth keeping? Let her do what’s right and then explain in the press – then let’s see how easy the board finds it to fire her.

  35. daggercat April 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    Donald, your comment was right on. It’s a basic lack of parenting. We are supposed to be raising kids to be self sufficient. That means we have to take the time to TEACH them things and hold them accountable. Sounds like this boy was just taking a tool he thought he might need into a situation where it might actually be useful. Folding knife on a camping trip…has been taught to use it properly….makes sense.

  36. lollipoplover April 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Confession- my son takes his prized swiss army knife with him to school every day (though he leaves it in his bike bag).
    At least once a week, someone pops a chain off their bike and he uses the blunt tip to put it back on. Other bikers seek him out for help- he says he likes being helpful.
    But at a nature camp, shouldn’t they be TEACHING kids how to use such tools to be resourceful? Treating such a tool as a weapon is ignorant.
    And at a nature camp!

  37. Heath April 28, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    @Captain America, I’m not trying to pile on. Ha ha! But really, the reason why it probably seems like it’s more often women in authority in these stories is simply because there’s probably way more female principals/teachers than male, in elementary schools. Or, at least, that is what I assume, based on all of my experience. But yeah, my wife can out-knife most anyone. :)

  38. Brian April 28, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    To all the women getting defensive on here, let me point something out. You are kind of a special group. Look at the website you’re on. You’re not exactly representative of the majority of wet-noodle mamby pambies and sissies out there. Those women are out there, and they are the majority.

    I have not personally met a single woman yet who was comfortable letting a kid handle a knife, let alone a gun. One woman I dated was horrified that my daughter had her own little .22 rifle.

    So you shouldn’t be getting defensive. You should be praising yourselves for not being one of *those* kinds of women. You’re a rare find, and highly prized.

  39. Brian April 28, 2013 at 6:11 pm #


    I doubt this is the kind of nature camp that teaches how to survive in nature. It’s probably one of those Gaia-worshipping environmentalist events where they all learn that nature is some kind of anthropomorphic being, and that they should just all lie down and die because they are a cancer. And fossil fuels are bad, mkay?

  40. Sarah in WA April 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    ” You’re not exactly representative of the majority of wet-noodle mamby pambies and sissies out there. Those women are out there, and they are the majority.”

    I strongly disagree. They are NOT the majority! They are simply the squeakiest wheels getting the grease. They are vocal and loud, but not the majority.

  41. Sarah in WA April 28, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    And they’re not all WOMEN! Please stop with the sexism.

  42. Emily April 28, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    I have to agree with Sarah here. Also, I’m sure there are a lot of people (of both genders) who quietly go along with the Bubble-Wrap Brigade, because they don’t want to make waves at their kids’ school/Brownie troop/whatever. They don’t really agree that Swiss Army knives, or birthday cupcakes, or cartwheels on the playground, or walking to school alone, are dangerous, but they don’t vocalize this opinion, because they know that if they do, the teacher/principal/coach/Brownie leader will make life a lot more difficult for them and for their children.

  43. Andrea April 28, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    It’s stupid to shelter kids from pocket knives, yes. But what I think is really horrible is how so many of these kids are punished and treated as miscreants for having done something that was normal when the teachers and principals were kids. So he brought a pocket knife and he’s not allowed to have it… how about an adult keeps it for him, kindly explains that it’s against the rules, and talks to the parent about it at the end of the camp?

    I contend that children aren’t safe in the care of adults who are irrational enough to think that a mistakenly packed pocket knife (or drawn gun, or pop tart bit in the shape of a gun) means that a kid is rotten to the core and needs to be shamed and punished. School is irredeemable while these people are in charge.

  44. SKL April 28, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    Captain America, that’s the same logic that says that all men must be pedophiles because everyone who tried fondling me as a child was male.

    You speak of a woman you dated. Was she a mom? I don’t know of any moms who are wimps when it comes to sharp, shiny things around their kids. It’s a big part of being a mom, from giving birth to getting medical care for kids to raising them up to be competent adults. Not all kids are ready for knives at the same age, but moms are generally the first ones who put a chair up at the counter for little kids to help prep meals etc.

    I’ve had plenty of times when childless men and even dads have taken issue with the independence I give my daughters, to the point of even physically interfering with my parenting. It’s not a woman thing.

  45. lollipoplover April 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    @Brian- If it was school sponsored, it had to have some type of learning experience (conservation? habitats?) vs. the tree hugging experience you’re describing.

    Oh, and my son (11) asked to go wild boar hunting for his birthday present this year. He got a 286 lb. one with his shotgun (clean shot in the eye). He’s also gotten two deer with his crossbow. I am a woman and I am very comfortable with responsible use of weapons (for us, it’s the meat we eat) and education. It’s not a sex issue, it’s an ignorance issue. Swiss army knives are not weapons!

  46. Yan Seiner April 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    @Patti: spot on. And I’ll go one step further: telling kids that everything is dangerous while at the same time using punishments for every little rule infraction leads to adults who see everything as a threat and therefore need all the firepower they can get to keep safe during the zombie apocalypse.

    It also teaches a total disregard for facts and statistics. Can anyone state how many crimes are committed on school property, or on school trips, with folding knives?

    Even the TSA came to the conclusion that those kinds of knives pose no threat, but had to back down due to the total disregard for facts and statistics. See above.

  47. RavingRambler April 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    And the products of “zero tolerance” policies are now wandering the streets as adults. I covered an incident involving adults last year on my blog.

    Sorry for the link, feel free to kill it if I’ve overstepped, thought it might be relevant to the topic.


  48. Papilio April 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    Sigh. Someone should spike the drinking water with anxiety disorder meds.

  49. Jenny Islander April 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    Captain America, please get your neurosis about women seen to.

    Also, if you’re a troll, you’re a boring troll.

  50. Jenny Islander April 28, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Brian: “Those women are out there?” “Namby-pamby?”


    I have never, and I do mean never, in my entire life, met a woman like the ones you describe. Where the hell do you live?

  51. SKL April 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Ladies, let’s all go visit Captain America and talk to him in person about the namby-pambiness of women. LOL. Lenore, are you in?

    PS, namby-pamby is an adjective my mom often uses to refer to cowardly men. I’ve never heard it used on women before.

  52. Jenny Islander April 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    @Andrea: My school banned pocket knives when I was in early primary, not because of any danger, but because pocket knives were considered to be attractive nuisances. If a child forgot and brought a pocket knife, nobody knew about it unless he or she brought it out during class to (gasp horrors) sharpen a pencil, at which point all of the kids nearby would drop what they were doing and beg a turn with the cool pocket knife, hence the attractive nuisance thing. And if a pocket knife appeared in class, the teacher would take it away until the last bell rang.

    And that was all that was needed. Unless the student kept bringing in the darn knife all the time, nobody outside the classroom even had to get involved.

    Why isn’t this kind of common sense possible anymore?

    Oh, and for our resident chapter of G.R.O.S.S.:

  53. Jenny Islander April 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Hit Post too soon.

    The teachers involved were all women.

  54. SKL April 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    I should have said Brian as well as Captain America.

  55. fred schueler April 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    “I have not personally met a single woman yet who was comfortable letting a kid handle a knife,” – oops: the daughter (admittedly one of the group called the ‘free range girls’ since the mid-1990s) was instructing the 11 month grandson in the sharpness of my Swedish Brush Axe (a knife mounted in an axe handle). Certainly her mother never inhibited her use of knives. As far as sex roles go, however, I’ll say that no gentleman or gentleman-in-training, goes out without a knife, a pen, a handkerchief, and a timepiece.

  56. SKL April 28, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    I’m seriously rolling over here at the thought of women being namby-pamby. Whoa. I must check with my dad on this one. (After I catch my breath.) Sorry, carry on.

  57. SKL April 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    This reminds me of a moment in the break room back in 1994. There was a cake with a big knife in it. A sales guy jokingly pointed the knife at a female colleague and said, “OJ Simpson.” She took the knife and responded, “Lorena Bobbitt.” Guess who went pale? LOLOL.

  58. Natalie April 28, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    @brian –
    You’re different. Not like all the other Jews/blacks/Hispanics/Muslims/women that I’ve met. Consider yourself proud.

    Sexism sounds the same as racism, you know? Pretty soon you and ol’ Cap’n America will be telling us that some of your best friends are women.

    Maybe the two of you don’t consider yourselves to be sexist because your statements don’t sound as bad as some of the choice comments coming out of the GOP recently, but they are. Maybe you should start questioning yourselves.

  59. SKL April 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    No, Natalie, I think Brian and Cap’n have outdone the GOP on this thread. Besides, some of my favorite public officials are Republicans. :)

  60. SKL April 28, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    I have to apologize because twice I yelled at Captain America when it was Brian’s comment that I was responding to. Sorry.

  61. Natalie April 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    High five

  62. TaraK April 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    My oldest son received a pocket knife as a Cub scout around the age of eight. I had a minor stroke, but let him have it as he demonstrated responsibility (and he knew to keep it away from his 3 younger sibs). Once he was screwing around and cut his thumb open. No stitches needed. Once he was doing a job under his dad’s instructions. He was holding the knife wrong, his fingers tripped the safety lock and he needed 3 stitches in his knuckle. He still has the knife, still uses it and has not had any further mishaps! :) (This boy was also seen just yesterday teaching his six-year-old sister to shoot a BB gun!)

  63. Jenn April 28, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    We took our children to one of Lenore’s Free Range workshops and my son (then 8) read the list of 12 thing to do before you’re 12 (or something like that). The one thing that he hadn’t done was own a pocketknife. It’s not that we didn’t want him to have one, it just hadn’t crossed our mine (or my son’s) that this was something that he wanted or needed. He asked for one for Christmas and we established some ground rules and have had no problems. He’s whittled a few sticks into ‘spears’ and has used it to cut various things around the house. I think he find excuses just to show us that he can use it responsibly! My daughter now wants one but she wants to wait until she is 8 so that way she can be the same as her brother.

  64. anonymous this time April 28, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    If a kid is horsing around with a knife in a way that poses an immediate threat to well-being for the kid or others around him, by all means, take the knife away.

    Otherwise, let the kid keep the knife.

    Since when did holding onto a closed pocket knife, or using one in a safe way, pose a threat to anyone?

    Is it the very IDEA of a knife that is so terrifying?

    Gadzooks, suspension seems like something more suited for a situation where someone draws blood with a knife. I’m just kind of sad to hear that there’s a culture of terror about metal objects that serve a function but could possibly be used in a way that could harm someone. I’m amazed they let kids play baseball with bats anymore!

  65. J.T. Wenting April 28, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    “Now they have to wait for adults to do everything for them. The principal has effectively crippled them. Way to go!

    But there is one upside to these Zero Tolerance stories. As they pile up, maybe, just maybe, administrators will start to flash on them”

    don’t be silly. Turning kids (and thus future adults) into mindless, defenseless, wardens of the state is the purpose of such rules, not an unintentional side effect.

  66. Donna April 28, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Boy, sure glad that I don’t make rash generalizations or I’d think all men were sexist idiots like Brian and Captain America.

  67. Krista April 28, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    Donna, I love you.

  68. bmj2k April 29, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    Hmm. Swiss army knives are evil. The Boy and Girl Scouts teach kids how to use knives. Oh no! By knee-jerk logic, the Boy and Girl Scouts are training terorrists! They aren’t fooling me with those Pinewood derbys!

  69. Mike H. April 29, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    Years ago I was participating in one of those 24-hour walk-a-thon-fundraising things at a local high school. The “team” I was assigned to was setting up tents in the track infield. I pulled out a Swiss Army knife to cut excess cord I used to stabilize my tent. Two people nearby got wild eyed and shrieked “weapon” as I went about my task. I was then, and still to this day dumbfounded at the mindset that led these adults to freak over a Swiss Army knife.

    No tolerance stories like this make me fearful of the education systems we create. Where those in position of authority have no conception of context, or what a Swiss Army knife is.

  70. BL April 29, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    Does the Swiss Army still allow Swiss Army knives?

    Just wondering.

  71. Amanda Matthews April 29, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    “simply because there’s probably way more female principals/teachers than male, in elementary schools”

    And keep in mind that THAT is based on the irrational fear of all males being pedophiles.

    I know I’m part of the exception, but in my family, it is my husband that is uncomfortable letting kids use knives… I told him he’d just have to get over it, because we can’t stunt our children’s’ growth due to his irrational fear.

    With having knives at a camp or school, the fear is that they will stab people, right? So it seems to me that the camp/school is admitting that either a. In this place others are going to threaten my kid enough that he will feel the need to use a pocket knife on them or b. they don’t interact with the kids well enough to know one of them may just stab others for no reason. Those are both reasons I would not want to send my kid there.

    Or is it just that they don’t trust my judgement with my own child? That they don’t trust that I have deemed my child capable to use the knife and he will hurt himself, and they will be blamed? So basically they are undermining my judgement, damaging my relationship with my child.

  72. Kris April 29, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Read the handbook for the school, it also says no plastic knives for lunch, and no chase or tag games at recess. That is right, no playing tag or chase, because, you know, running is bad.

  73. Warren April 29, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    I can remember being on these types of outings, as a kid that loved the outdoors, I never missed one.

    What happened to the good old days when the teachers, or leaders, or adults would ask simple questions?

    Who knows how to cut firewood? Who knows how to make a fire? Who knows how to cook? Who knows how to put up a tent? And so on. They would then send one of us that knew what to do, of with one or two that didn’t have the skills. Then the adults would do what they should be doing, just overseeing, and guiding when needed.

  74. Michelle G April 29, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    INSANITY!! When my oldest son was in 8th grade (he will be 20 in a week), he was well on his way to earning his Eagle Scout award, which required him to know how to properly use a knife. One day, during MCAS (MA standardized testing) and also a Boy Scout meeting day, he brought a small drawstring backback to school (they didn’t have homework during MCAS, and did not need to carry books around). He accidentally left his bag in homeroom and after numerous students let the teacher know who’s bag it was, she decided to go through it anyway. At the bottom of the bag was a small Swiss Army type knife (the one with only 1 small blade). She immediately called the principle, who of course, called the police and brought my son and my husband in to talk about his punishment. He was suspended from school for a week and was unable to take the school trip to Washington DC (which was the following Monday and was paid in full). There is no way he could have seriously harmed anyone with that knife and as one of the more popular, well-liked kids in school, it was unlikely that was his intent anyway. The school totally overreacted. If this was a troubled kid who was depressed or otherwise had some issues known to the school, I could see them being more concerned. After they told me he couldn’t go on the trip and wouldn’t give me my money back, I asked that they please send a child who couldn’t afford to go in his place, they wouldn’t do that either…

  75. Hugo S. Cunningham April 29, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    The relevant camping authority should publicly suspend accreditation of this school, with no reversal until the administrators admit their error, and provide the kei and his parents with an appropriate apology.

  76. Andrew April 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Some of the comments about not allowing cutlery during lunch reminds me of an episode of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”. He (Jamie Oliver), was trying to improve the school lunches in an W.Virginia school district and was flabbergasted that the schools didn’t allow students to use a knife and fork to eat with. The school official was totally clueless about how this was a problem.

  77. marie April 29, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    She immediately called the principle, who of course, called the police and brought my son and my husband in to talk about his punishment. He was suspended from school for a week and was unable to take the school trip to Washington DC…

    Michelle, that’s a terrible, terrible story. I will confess, though, that it made me think about this hysterical scene from Parenthood, the movie.

    If parents lie awake at night imagining that they’ve really screwed up the kids, principals and teachers probably do, too. At least I hope so. :-)

  78. bmommyx2 April 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    this is both stupid & sad.

  79. EricS April 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Another truly ignorant and incompetent teacher/principal. No common sense. But what’s ironic about this story, and many stories like it. A child can find themselves disciplined, and perhaps even the parents getting reprimanded for letting their child have a swiss army knife. Yet, because of the second amendment, people are allowed to carry and use firearms as they please. Hmmmmm… small pocket knife…high powered rifles and guns. It wasn’t a pocket knife that caused Sandy Hook, or any other school SHOOTINGS. Reminds me of the Cheese and Kinder Surprise bans in America. Didn’t realize cheese, candy and little pocket knives were a national security issue, and not guns and pharmaceutical drugs.

  80. SKL April 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    Eric S, the difference is that we’re talking about kids in institutional settings. Kids (and adults) aren’t allowed to tote guns in schools, etc. either. You make it sound like the kid would not have been reprimanded had he brought a gun instead of a knife. You don’t actually believe that, right?

  81. SKL April 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Funny thing is, when I was a kid I would not have thought twice about carrying a knife. They were cool, that’s all. There was no aura of danger or taboo. I mean, yeah, if you’re not careful you can cut yourself, but you can also fall on your head playing on the monkey bars, wipe out on your bike, stub your toe . . . . A knife was not thought of as a weapon among young kids. Gang members, maybe.

  82. Warren April 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    I hope the parents fight this with a lawyer if needed. This child does not need a school suspension for a weapon, on his school records.

    An apology from the board, and actions against administration should also be sought.

  83. Donna April 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    EricS- Nobody is allowed to carry guns to school. Outside of a few NRA crazies, I don’t think anyone is seriously advocating that guns be allowed in schools.

    While I think this country is gun crazy and completely misconstrues the 2nd Amendment, THIS is not a good comparison. This kid would have been expelled for bringing a gun on this trip. This kid is allowed to carry his knife anywhere he would be allowed to carry a gun (actually far more places since a 10 year old can’t carry a gun much of anywhere). He is simply not allowed to have either a gun or knife in school.

  84. Steve S April 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    I am in my 40’s and can certainly remember being able to have a pocketknife at school. That being said, most schools will not allow it now. I don’t understand why people think this type of hysteria or zero tolerance is confined to schools. I have never worked for a company that will allow pocket knives to be carried by employees. I would suspect that most companies have some kind of boilerplate “no-weapons” policies.

    I am a solo practice attorney. Despite being an officer of the court, I would be arrested and held in contempt of court if I brought a pen knife into a courthouse. I have a had a number if inquiries related to knife laws and was surprised at the number of states and municipalities that have banned all sorts of knives, so I am not surprised that schools do this. It is society wide.

    Eric, despite the second amendment, people can’t have any kind of gun or do what they please. That is completely without any basis in reality.

  85. Steve S April 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    How have people misconstrued the 2nd Amendment? Individual right…shall not be infringed…seems pretty clear to me. FWIW, there is case law out that suggests the right to keep and bear arms includes knives, so we may see some litigation regarding the patch work knife laws on the books.

  86. Brian April 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    “Brian: “Those women are out there?” “Namby-pamby?”


    I have never, and I do mean never, in my entire life, met a woman like the ones you describe. Where the hell do you live?”


  87. Brian April 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Ok, sexism. Right. What does that even mean?

    What exactly is wrong about recognizing some statistical characteristic of a group of people? If more women are hypersensitive, fearful ninnies afraid of every little danger, however remote, than those who are not like that, how is that “sexist?” If it’s true, then it’s just a fact. Facts have no morality.

    Or is it sexist just because you don’t like those characteristics? Well, obviously there are people out there who are just fine with them. And what if I said to them that most women are rugged mountain women who carry knives and teach toddlers how to skin bears? You might like that, but they won’t. There’s no winning.

    So if you want to make me change my mind, tell me that actually most women are not like that, that maybe it’s just the part of the country I live. Maybe it’s just the Maryland/DC area. Don’t tell me that my experience is somehow immoral.

  88. Warren April 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm #


    Hate to burst your bubble, but we do not all work in offices. As a matter of fact pretty much every guy I have worked with, or the ones now working with me carry knives, ranging from 3 to 7 inches in blade length. Most commonly carried is a locking blade.

    A pocket knife, box cutter, swiss army are all tools, and are no different than a hammer or screwdriver.

    Nine times out of ten we use someone else’s knife, because we are hands full and cannot reach our own. Just easier to have someone open their’s and pass it to you.

    As a matter of fact when they go on sale, I usually buy a few. I have three in the package in my glove compartment. You always seem to forget you put it down.

  89. Jenny Islander April 29, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Brian, the problem is that the majority of women you speak of, those “hypersensitive, fearful ninnies,” exist only in your head. You are trying to force real people into categories you made up and insisting that those categories describe reality.

    Also, if you have really been so self-absorbed in the past 25 years that you have no idea what sexism means, then it’s not my job to educate you. You are on the big wide wonderful Internet. RTFFAQ.

  90. Brian April 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    They exist only in my head? And you know this…how? Maybe you live out in the middle of Wyoming, and the only other people out there are just like you, but I happen to live in the middle of ninny central. Why don’t you try getting over here sometime? It might broaden your perspective.

  91. JP April 29, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    As a boy sprout – the things I learned to always carry in my pockets and never be without:
    pen-knife, string. compass, matches (in waterproof wrap)
    motto: be prepared. It’s amazing how much I actually was – all from age 11 onward. Never stabbed anything. Never burned anything down. Never terrorized the populace. Imagine that.

    But seriously: a pretty scary dingbat to have your kids hang around, um? A “person” in authority who somehow can’t figure, can’t handle, can’t solve – the problem: Separate knife from kid. Period. End of story. Problem solved.

    Only it isn’t, apparently. Wrath must rule. Tolerance must be zero and no other. Examples must be made.
    (and I thought Pol Pot was a nut.) Seriously.

  92. Captain America April 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    @steve. I guess I don’t feel particularly threatened by co-workers or people on the street having knives with modest (sub-three.5 inch) blades. Why should I?

    I suppose it makes sense to blame this on Good Old Fashioned American Over-Lawyering.

  93. tm23 April 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    Bruce Schneier had a post up years ago on “zero tolerance” policies: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/10/the_bizarre_con.html

    As he puts it, it’s all CYA, and has nothing to do with actual security or safety, and is a result of elected officials taking these decisions entirely out of the hands of those on the ground. This has been going on for a generation, so Principal Hucko and her ilk think this is the way things have been and should be.

    To give you an idea what Hucko and other principals throughout my state have trained with regarding this issue, take a look at this page from the Orange Unified school district:

  94. marie April 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    @ Brian 6:42
    Nicely done. Seriously. That was a good response. We are all free to say what we want to say, even if we generalize from our own experiences. Some of the responses to you were wild generalizations of their own. I know more women who react badly to the very idea of weapons than men who react that way yet I admire some of those same women for other characteristics. Not liking guns doesn’t make them bad people.

    I don’t agree with everything you said but I’m not offended in the least that you said it. I’m not hyper-sensitive that way.

    No worries, though. The commenters on this blog generally live and let live…which is part of the free range idea.

  95. Donna April 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Brian – Where exactly are these ninny studies and statistics of which you speak published? I’d like to read them.

    I happen to know far more male ninnies than females. I guess that is all the evidence needed and I am 100% justified in stating that all men are ninnies. Almost all the black people that I know are criminals so I guess that I can state unequivocally that criminality is a characteristic of black people and not be considered racist at all. In fact, I know a ton of criminals in general, so I guess that I can conclude that all people are criminals. I know a large percentage of really dumb people too so I guess I’m an authority on the amount of dumb people in the world. And drug addicts. I know a lot of drugs addicts so everyone must be a drug addict.

    Or maybe I should just realize that I know who I know and that who I know may not be indicative of the entire population so I probably shouldn’t make generalizations about a billion people based on the assumed characteristics of an extremely minute number of them that I actually know.

  96. SKL April 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    Brian, just be honest and admit you are a pedophile. Or if you aren’t, at least admit that you’re one of the rare exceptions and should be proud of it, because the majority of men are pedophiles. No point hiding from a fact.

    For that matter, most violent crimes involving weapons are committed by men, meaning most men are violent criminals (applying your logic). So maybe that’s why you seem to see a lot of women not wanting boys to have knives. (That’s not what I see in my world, but you say that’s what you see, so it must be true.)

    You remind me of another personal anecdote from my family. My mom saw a big spider and called my dad to come and remove it. My dad, like any proper macho man, chuckled and rolled up a newspaper as he strode into the room. The spider ran toward him and he jumped on a chair and began beating my mom over the head with the newspaper, screaming “kill it! kill it!” True story.

    I’ve never met a guy in my generation who was as brave as I am. Or, some might say, as stupid as I am. Take your pick. :) Maybe we grow girls tougher in the Midwest.

  97. Warren April 29, 2013 at 11:10 pm #


    because the majority of men are pedophiles. No point hiding from a fact.

    I certainly hope you mispoke. Did you mean most pedophiles are men?

    If you meant what you said, then there are millions and millions of pedophiles out there.

    For the rest of you, if you took a sample of women from rural areas and another sample from the city, I am sure you would see a drastic difference in opinions on kids carrying pocket knives. Have lived in both settings and know for a fact that people in the city live a helluvalot more fearful, than those in my blessed rural area.

  98. Donna April 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    Brian – We live in an extremely diverse country. We know an extremely small number of the people who live in a single small geographic area around our home and work. Most of those people – at least of those known well enough to make a judgment on their ninniness – are of a very close socioeconomic, intelligence and even race as us. They likely have similar characteristics as they were drawn to the area for some reason and remained.

    My home is in an extremely progressive, granola-crunchy, hipster college town. Nobody I know there – male or female – owns a gun or is remotely pro-gun. If I actually believed that my neighborhood is a microcosm of the entire country, I’d be convinced that it would take about 5 seconds to get an unanimous vote to repeal the 2nd amendment since nobody, except criminals, wants guns anyway.

    Obviously that is not a correct analysis of the gun issue in America. As I realize every time I leave my progressive, granola-crunchy, hipster college town and venture out into the rest of the wonderful state of Georgia where kids are traditionally taught to shoot a deer and field dress it (with a sharp hunting knife) as soon as they can hold up a gun.

  99. Donna April 29, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    @ Warren – No, SKL was making a point that Brian’s assertion that all women are ninnies is as ridiculous as many people’s belief that all men are pedophiles.

  100. SKL April 29, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    Warren, I was illustrating that it’s ridiculous for Brian etc. to assume that because most of the “ninnies” he personally knows of happen to be women, therefore the majority of women are ninnies.

    I can’t deny I know a few female ninnies. I know at least as many male ninnies. Especially when it comes to girls (which my kids happen to be), the moms/aunties are always the ones pushing toward the next milestone, while the dads/uncles are often unable to trust girls to navigate the big bad world.

    Yet girls are not easily kept down, in my experience. We are the strong ones. We’re not the ones who frequently need to be held back / redshirted in school because we can’t hack it. We’re not the ones who go to college unable to boil an egg or sew on a button. We’re not the ones who faint in the delivery room. Hmph. Shit happens to us and we get back up and keep fighting.

    I remember when my mom was 8.5 mos pregnant with my baby sister. (I was 12.) My mom worked downtown in a big city. (At the time she had a bad kidney infection and my oldest brother was in the hospital with a broken femur. But she took care of her house and 5 kids and got her butt to work every day.) Once while walking to her car in the parking lot, she was attacked by a serial rapist. She fought the SOB off, drove home, and called the police. Do you think she stopped going to work? No. Do you think she stopped her two daughters from walking to and from school and free-ranging (latchkey kids) all afternoon? No. PLEASE don’t talk to me about women being ninnies.

    Did it even occur to you that the owner of this site / leader of this movement is a woman?

  101. Warren April 30, 2013 at 1:03 am #

    Ya beat me to it. Was thinking I had it wrong and came back to say so. So consider it said.

    Now, as far as this whole “sexism” line of debate.

    Brian is not talking about the women that frequent this site or Lenore. He is talking about the women in society, in general.
    You can argue all you want, but a greater number of women will designate a pocket knife as a weapon, that no school age child should be allowed to carry, then men would.
    Of the people I know, there would be some women/mothers that would be fine with it, but most would not. I honestly cannot think of any men/dads that would be against it.
    Women and men are not equal, they never will be. We think differently, we feel differently, and see things differently. Can men and women do the same jobs, sports, or whatever? Of course they can. Will they do them the same? In alot of cases no.

    If we could get a poll done nationally, I am sure the numbers would show that mothers tend to make up the majority of the helicopter, overprotective parents. That is not a dig at women, it is just they way things are.

  102. Donna April 30, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    “You can argue all you want, but a greater number of women will designate a pocket knife as a weapon, that no school age child should be allowed to carry, then men would.”

    Based on what, Warren? Your own opinion without any verification at all?

    “I am sure the numbers would show that mothers tend to make up the majority of the helicopter, overprotective parents.”

    Again, based on what?

    I can’t think of a single man who has come on here and claimed that his wife was too helicopter. There are several women who have posted here saying that their husbands (ex husbands) won’t let the kids free range.

    Of the helicopter families that I know personally, BOTH parents are equally helicopter. The mother is more obvious because she is the main caregiver, but the father is totally on board. The only family that I know where one parent is regularly pushing the other to be more relaxed is a lesbian couple.

    And since all these opinions are based on nothing but our own personal experience, mine that women are no more prone to helicopter parenting than men is equally valid. But at least I understand that it is nothing more than an opinion and not a statement of fact based on … absolutely nothing.

  103. SKL April 30, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    Back to the pedophile logic. Even if it were true that more women helicopter than men, that does not mean most women are namby-pambies, ninnies, and the source of most “banal stupidities.” The logic is extremely flawed.

    Obviously we all have different risk thresholds, male and female. And kids develop differently. If I see a child not being allowed to do xyz alone, I don’t automatically assume it’s because the parent is a helicopter. You may think that I drop my kids off at school because I don’t trust them to walk or take the bus, but you’d be wrong. My kids also have unique experiences, so they might not be doing something your kid did at their age just because they’ve been busy doing something else.

    When it comes to young kids, women are more likely to be seen out with them, so obviously you’re going to see more female helicopters, and more female free-rangers (if you have your eyes open).

    I don’t think the majority of moms are helicopters at heart. I do think that institutions have made it harder and harder to allow kids freedoms. As a mom, I have to make a choice whether to buck the system or not. It’s a cost-benefit analysis. Aside from the fact that I’m very busy and always in a time crunch, how much flak am I willing to take for letting my kid do what men, childless people, and forgetful grandparents think dangerous? Is it my fault other people watch too much Nancy Grace? While I don’t stop my kids from climbing etc., having spent 6 hours in an ER and been given the standard “child abuser screen” after an ordinary kid accident, it’s hard to blame moms who aren’t eager to have that kind of experience repeated. Is it my fault that many institutions don’t allow my kids to enter their doors unaccompanied until they are 12 or 13? Why should my kids and I always have to be the freedom fighters? We’re very busy as it is. Sometimes we don’t have the time or energy to swim against the current. And, I can only imagine how careful I’d be if I’d already had a visit from CPS. If moms are going to be continually persecuted for free-range choices, it’s not fair to call them “helicopters” for not fighting on the front lines.

  104. Natalie April 30, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    It’s called conformational bias. You hold sexist/racist beliefs, but don’t want to be held responsible for them. So you point to the “facts” which you have confirmed for yourself through your own bias, to justify your own racism/sexism. I’ve seen anti-semitism justified in this way by people who would be horrified to be considered racist. Same goes for those who are anti- Muslim, or those who hold similar negative views of Hispanics or blacks. And even more so nowadays – anti-gay.

    And sexism with women. As was demonstrated here.

    I understand that you don’t consider yourself to be sexist. I understand that you don’t want to be labelled as sexist. And yet you are making sweeping generalizations of women, and justifying them through conformational bias. This is what racists do. This is what sexists do. The fact that several people have pointed it out to you should cause you to rethink your assumptions, but more importantly, why you are making them.

    You don’t have to say that women are incompetent outside the home to be sexist. It’s much more subtle than that. Although I must say, these past few comments have had my red lights flashing and I didn’t find them particularly subtle.

    Sexism and racism are much more pervasive in our society than people would like to admit. And the way to get rid of it, if you think that is an admirable goal, is to first identify it and call it out. I don’t expect your figurative light bulb to go on now, sometimes ideas take a while to catch hold. Your certainly not the first person I’ve met who made sexist comments and didn’t like being called out for them. And hopefully you’ll think about it, as those other people did.

    Most people balk at the idea of being sexist. So think about it. Your wife/mother/sisters/daughters/granddaughters will love you for it.

    Sexism/racism is not a permanent condition, and it’s completely in your control.

  105. David April 30, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    When I go camping roasting marshmallows is a top priority! A knife is a necessary tool for preparing the stick used to roast the marshmallow.

  106. Christina April 30, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    @Natalie – Well put. Thank you.

  107. Warren April 30, 2013 at 9:37 am #


    Based on what? Personal observation, of how mothers and fathers interact with kids.

    As for the dads on track with the helicopter moms? They give in because they cannot win the fight. Pure and simple.

    I won the fight with my helicopter wife, by divorcing her and getting custody of the kids. I don’t complain about her, because she is no longer in the picture. Also if I started, I would be writing an essay as long as the Bible.

    If you cannot accept the idea that women and men see things differently, that in the poplution in general there fundamental differences between the sexes, how the hell have you made it this far?

  108. Warren April 30, 2013 at 9:42 am #


    Yes very well put.

    But like with racism, sexism has created a similiar issue. That in an effort to erase it and insure equality, even the idea of acknowledging the differences between races, religions or sexes, is now see as taboo.

    There are many physical, emotional and intellectual differences between the sexes, and to deny them is to deny what makes each sex not only special but important.

  109. Natalie April 30, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    No Warren. Citing hormonal differences is not an excuse to make sweeping generalizations. In this case, about who is more likely to let their kids use knives. The discussion was ridiculous, based on conformational bias, and then defended using….
    Conformational bias, and now hormones.

    Sorry, more estrogen does not equal less knife wielding, or more helicopter tendencies. We could make some sweeping generalizations about overprotective fathers and daughters. A cliche which doesn’t fit with the sexist statements being put forward here. Although I’m sure that some rationalizations and adjustments could be made to accommodate. Racism is full of justifications.

    Look, I’m sorry about you and you ex’s history, you sound like a great dad, your kids are sure to benefit from your approach to life. They’ll benefit even more from someone who is able to take a step back and question his assumptions, and why he’s making them, after they are pointed out. That’s not easy to do.

    You don’t want A bad relationship to influence how you think about women. It will hurt your relationships with those you love, and future ones.

  110. SKL April 30, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Of course there are differences between the sexes. But this isn’t one of them.

    Women are naturally wired to bring up their children to be competent so they can survive in the world. It’s usually the moms, not the dads, who push their kids to learn how to care for themselves, their homes, younger kids, relationships, etc. It’s the mama birds who push the young ones out of the nest. It’s the mama bears who take their cubs fishing. It’s the moms who nurse their babies but also the moms who wean them at the appropriate time.

    Today we have all kinds of elements that try to squash the natural instincts of both men and women. To a certain extent, this is working on both men and women. I can’t believe how many men I deal with – “professionals” – who have no idea how to solve a mechanical problem. Or how readily some of them turn to the nanny state to raise their children. I don’t know why some people – male and female – are so easy to lead down a destructive path. But I do know it’s happening to males and females. And I also believe that at least where I live, the average mother is still more like a mama bird or bear than like a helicopter.

  111. Warren April 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm #


    Maybe you should step back and not see this as an attack on you or the mothers that are on the free range side of things.

    I have coached kids, tutored kids, raised kids and have had more than my fair share of encounters with overprotective parents.

    Hockey moms, soccer moms, baseball moms for example. More mothers try to dictate, influence and alter how things are done during practice and games. The fathers in general just want to talk about the game as a whole, not about the amount of time their kid plays, that their little darling shouldnt have to run laps, that that that.

    This is not sexism, this is not a slam on women. This is just how things are. It is the way it has always been. It is even to the point that alot of mothers are well know to all the coaches, and when we divide up teams, we try not to overload one coach with too many of these moms if we can help it.

    What the ladies in here need to remember is that like people tend to associate with like people. So obviously the women you know have the same ideals as you.

    I on the other hand am looking at all the moms/women I have dealt with concerning kids. Yes I know some great moms/women, that have the same outlook as me, and they are in my personal circle. But I also have to deal with a cross section of women from all walks of life, and this is what I have seen.

    Another “bigoted” observation of mine, is that those who are more well off financially are more overprotective. Not a slam on people with money, just an observation.

    Considering I have been raising kids for over 20 years, coaching for over 15 years, and dealing with customers all my adult life, I have seen alot of parent interaction with children. Pattern emerge and they cannot be denied.

  112. Natalie April 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    I don’t see this as an attack on me. Indeed, you’ve made it clear that I am one of the “special” women. Not like other women with such and such characteristics.
    Far from feeling proud, I just raise an eyebrow.
    I don’t think blacks, gays, Jews, Muslims or Hispanics would appreciate a “compliment” thrown in their direction that they don’t act like the others in their respective groups with such and such negative qualities.

    And you’ve come back to your confirmational bias again, trying to assure me that your observations are special because you’ve been confirming your own biases for 20 years. That’s what racists and sexists do. And they’ve got lots of life experience to prove it.

    But I’m an optimist. The path is rocky but i believe civilization is on an upward trend. You’ll come around eventually.

    I look at the older generation of men that I work with. Some of them 70+. (I work in a military lab) I’m certain that they’ve held antiquated beliefs about women in the past. It was commonplace. But they’ve gotten over it.

  113. librarian May 1, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Another case of severe school over-reaction: Florida Teen Girl Charged With Felony After Science Experiment Goes Bad

  114. Warren May 1, 2013 at 10:18 am #


    So are trying to tell me that in all things men and women are born equal?

    If you honestly believe that, then you are living a fantasy.
    My beliefs are not antiquated, they are based on personal experience.

    Do you honestly believe that men and women think the same way, about all things?

    Sorry Natalie, you are just too much off the wall even to debate with.

  115. Natalie May 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    No Warren, that is not what I’ve said, nor has anyone else on this site made that Claim. Yes, I know, putting up a straw man argument is easier than debating actual talking points.

    There have been several people here who have responded to the numerous sexist comments of late with a variety of posts ranging from sarcastic to insulting to logical and nuanced replies. You’ve taken to defending them, and have backed your position with your observations, negating others’ observations for various reasons that you couldn’t possibly know, in order to preserve your claim.

    That’s confirmational bias. That’s why people do scientific studies. Because assumptions are often proven wrong even if you really, really, really want to cling to them.

    Women are human beings, and human beings are complicated, male and female. Trying to explain behavior (or predict it) by reducing everything to gender/hormones…
    Is sexist.

    Just as explaining or predicting behavior by race is racist. Life is more complicated than that. Humans like to simplify/classify things to make them easier to understand. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that its difficult to get rid of stereotypes.

    Modern society is moving away from racism and sexism, just not as quickly as we’d like. Do you really want to be the old relative 30 years from now that makes sexist remarks while everyone laughs uncomfortably and rolls their eyes? Read the comments of the people here. See if you can understand why so many were calling comments sexist.

    And if you’re still falling back on the “but these women are different/some of my best friends”….

    Well, hopefully you’ll understand with time.

  116. Warren May 1, 2013 at 11:03 pm #


    Get off the soap box.

    You cannot bring science into it. How many times have you heard that the study of human nature is not an exact science.

    The fact that you want to label me a sexist because I do not see things the way you do…………..well what does that make you?

    I have always found that the ones that protest too much, do so because what they are reading or hearing is the truth.
    You can complain all you want, call me sexist all you want, it really does not matter. In my experience, the females of our species prove to be the overprotective ones, more than the males. You don’t like that, well it really does not matter. I have talked with my good friend who is a free range mom and a nurse. To her, my observations are obvious. She sees it all the time in the hospital.

    Again it is not a slam, or insult, it is observation. You should try doing it some time.

  117. hineata May 1, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    @Warren – is a nurse necessarily the best person to be asking about such things? My own very unscientific observations of our local hospital’s children’s ward, where I reside 1 day every three weeks, or roughly 17 days a year, lead me to think that hospital staff deal more often with mothers rather than fathers – there are certainly more mothers in residence with their children than fathers. The mums appear to be there, usually, because their workplaces are more flexible, or because they are currently sahms etc. It stands to reason that if you see more of one sex than the other, and during a stage in a child’s life that is relatively stressful, that you might draw the conclusion that one sex is more overprotective than another.

    @Natalie – how great to be working with individuals who’ve retained enough flexibility in their thinking etc that they can still be working into their seventies. You’re’ right, there is always hope :-)

  118. Natalie May 2, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    Warren- sexism won’t disappear if its not confronted. Really, all it is is a bit of education and awareness which helps.

    I’m not calling you, Brian and captain America sexist because you don’t see things as I would like you to see them, I’m calling you sexist because you’re making sweeping generalizations about women and men.

    You have your observations. Other people have their observations. They don’t mesh with yours, so you say they don’t count. That’s why statistical studies are used, to remove the bias. And the parameters of those studies are also telling and can be used to decide whether the study is valid or not.

    You don’t understand statistics? That doesn’t make your bias more valid. You’ve got a friend that agrees with you? Good for you. I’ve got a friend that agrees with me. You’ve seen xyz? Wow. I’ve seen abc. This whole argument is ridiculous because it is all based on what people claim they see. That’s how sexists and racists justify their beliefs.

    Hineata- we have an 84 yr old on our team. He works for free essentially.

  119. Buffy May 2, 2013 at 7:55 am #


    Please go away.

  120. Warren May 2, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Suck it up.

    You are making the assumption that I am bias, and that my friend is bias. That is where your logic fails.

    The only reason you assume we are bias, is because our observations do not jive with your ideals.

    I am not bias, sexist, nor racist. I do on the other hand know that while we are all equal, and there is no doubt about that, that there is inherint traits to all people based on their race, or sex. Which also include health issues. There are health issues that are more common in one sex than the other, in one race than the other. That does not make be a bigot, it just facts. If you cannot accept that their are inherent differences between the sexes, it is your problem, not the world’s.

  121. Amanda Matthews May 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    “Eric S, the difference is that we’re talking about kids in institutional settings. Kids (and adults) aren’t allowed to tote guns in schools, etc. either. You make it sound like the kid would not have been reprimanded had he brought a gun instead of a knife. You don’t actually believe that, right?”

    I know you all have gone off on another tangent now, but…

    This kid was not at school. We are not talking about an institutional setting. He was on a CAMPING TRIP. A knife is a needed thing for camping.

    This would be like if a kid was punished for bringing a gun or a bow-and-arrow on a hunting trip, when no one had told him ahead of time that they were just going to be looking at the animals and that no guns nor bows were allowed.

    If you are going on a camping trip, it’s different from an average day inside the school building.

  122. Natalie May 2, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    You are biased. You’re ignoring everyone else’s observations that don’t mesh with your own. Because….. it would require a more nuanced outlook and questioning of assumptions which you are not ready to do yet.

    And we’ve come back to straw man arguements. Now in the form of health issues. Nobody here was claiming that men get periods and women get prostate cancer. So yeah, straw man.

    I could copy/paste my previous posts but you’d go back to straw men and confirmational bias.

    I think I’ve done my good deed for the day. Hopefully something will sink in. It doesn’t bother me that it’s not happening now. I don’t think people let go of their sexism with epiphanies, I think it happens gradually without people knowing. Bit by bit, you’ll come around. That’s the trend.

  123. Warren May 2, 2013 at 10:55 pm #


    Dressed up, well written and quite repetitive, but still fantasy.

    Understanding that there are differences in the sexes, in alot of areas, is not sexist.

    On the other hand calling someone a sexist for not giving into a politcally correct world of Natalie, is ignorant.

    Sorry Natalie, bit by bit, or by divine intervention, I will never think like you. I will not go through life with blinders on, ignoring what is right infront of me, because someone calls is sexist. You cannot believe in our common traits without believing in our differences.
    No good deed done Natalie. Just made me think, you are still off your rocker, and refusing to deal with reality.

  124. Natalie May 6, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Well, pending a major revolution, the modern world isn’t going anywhere. You can join when ready.

  125. Warren May 9, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    Natalie, I am in the modern world. Why don’t you join us, and leave the 60’s and 70’s behind.

    Equal is one thing, and the sexes are equal. Being identical is another, and no the sexes are not identical. If you cannot accept that there are differences between the sexes, not just physical, but intellectually and emotionally, then may I suggest some form of therapy, for dealing with your distorted views of reality?

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