- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A 12-year-old Michigan boy was suspended from school after he found a pocketknife and reported it to his school counselor, the boy’s foster mother says.

Kyler Davies, a 7th-grade student at Legg Middle School in Coldwater, found the knife in his own backpack before turning it over to school officials, a local CBS News affiliate reported.

Denise Davies, the boy’s foster mother, said she bought the bag at Goodwill and gave it to Kyler without checking its contents.

“He pulled it out and his counselor was standing there, and he says, ‘Can I call my mom?’” Ms. Davies explained. “And she’s like, ‘Why do you need to call your mom.’ He says, ‘Well, I found this, this isn’t mine.’”

Ms. Davies said her son received an automatic one-year suspension, which was later reduced to 30 school days.

“He was turning it over like he was supposed to, and you are punishing him for doing what’s right,” she told CBS. “So what is that teaching these kids?”

Ms. Davies said the school also tried to keep Kyler from playing football.

“The school told me he could not go to their property, he could not play; he can’t ride he bus with his team because it’s a [Coldwater Community Schools] bus,” she said.

Coldwater Rocket Football, an organization that runs independently from the school district, told CBS that the school wanted them to expel Kyler from the team, but they refused.

Coldwater Community Schools issued a statement Monday saying the district does not comment on the discipline of individual students “under any circumstance.”

“However, discipline procedures are in our student handbook and are consistent with Coldwater Community Schools Board of Education policies which comply with the current laws of the State of Michigan regarding student discipline,” the statement read.

Goodwill, which reportedly sold the backpack to Kyler, apologized in a statement.

“Over 1 million items are donated to us each year and we are very grateful for that support. We take the safety of our customers, employees and community very seriously,” Goodwill said, CBS reported. “Our staff does their best to inspect every item donated to us with safety in mind. However, we rely on people to inspect each item donated and it is possible something was missed.

It added, “We cannot say with absolute certainty that this event did or did not occur. If it did, we apologize and hope that the School Board takes this statement into consideration when making its decision about this student.”

It was unclear what kind of pocketknife Kyler found in his backpack, but school policy prohibits any knife with a blade three inches or longer, as well as pocketknives opened by a mechanical device. The policy states that a student should not be expelled if he or she “can establish to the satisfaction” of the school board that the weapon was not knowingly possessed.

Ms. Davies did not say whether she planned to appeal her child’s suspension.

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