This should get you going. If you are homeschooling your kids this will give you comfort. A 17-year veteran teacher in a public school in Chicago (where else?) was suspended for four days without pay because he brought to school a box full of garden tools to show his kids which contained, among other items, a box cutter and a knife. A knife? Oh, no!
In the zero-tolerance insane world that exists in Chicago and apparently plenty of other places, this is felonious assault on innocents! This must be stopped! This must be dealt with! There must be no budging, no vacillating, no waffling! This is the law! Thou shall not violate the law!
On August 8, 2011, in connection with a required “tool discussion” included in his teaching curriculum, Plaintiff displayed to his second-grade students several garden-variety tools, including a box cutter, a 2.25″ pocketknife, wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers. The visual aids were used in an effort to facilitate student understanding and remembrance of the curriculum. As he displayed the box cutter and pocketknife, Plaintiff specifically described the proper uses of these tools. Neither of these items was made accessible to the students.
But someone tattled, told the principal, and she suspended him:
On August 19, 2011, an area observer made a complaint against Plaintiff. As a result of this complaint, Plaintiff was charged with possessing, carrying, storing, or using a weapon; negligently supervising children; inattention to duty; violating school rules; and repeated flagrant acts.
What Rutherford wants is for the teacher to get his pay and the suspension removed from his record. And damages.
An interesting note: Rutherford is basing its complaint on the 14th Amendment:
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the rights of citizens to be free from punishments imposed on the basis of conduct that they could not have known to be wrongful.
Plaintiff’s tools, and specifically the pocketknife were not items “commonly used to inflict bodily harm,” nor were they “used or intended to be used in a manner that may inflict bodily harm.”
As a direct and proximate result of the deprivation of Plaintiff’s rights under the Due Process Clause, he has suffered humiliation, embarrassment, mental suffering, and lost wages, and was suspended for four days.
Naturally I hope he wins his case. I hope Rutherford succeeds. I hope the school principal gets the message. I’ll even accept two out of three.