An 8 year old boy is facing criminal charges for bringing a pocket knife to school. It happened Wednesday morning at Ettrick Elementary in Chesterfield.
Some are now questioning if the punishment is too severe.
"Zero tolerance and zero intelligence," said sporting store manager Richard Hill who is shocked to learn the 8 year old is charged with bringing a weapon to school.
"You have got to look at things in perspective," said Hill.
Hill has a 10 year old boy scout of his own who just got a pocket knife as a "rite of passage."
"At worst," said Hill. "Take his knife away and send it home with a note to the parents rather than call the police and scare a child to death."
Chesterfield Police say the 8 year old did not threaten anyone with the knife, but he did show it to other students. No one was injured. The male student had a 3 inch pocket knife. Any pocket knife 3 inches and over is illegal on school property.
"That's a class one misdemeanor," said NBC 12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin. "It carries up to 12 months in jail. There is no ambiguity there."
The Chesterfield school system released the following statement:
"We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a safe and supportive learning environment that is free from disruption. Students who violate student conduct regulations are subject to suspension and/or expulsion, and, if the offense is a violation of the law, to prosecution."
Benjamin notes local prosecutors usually operate on a non-binding rule of thumb.
"A child that young, it's hard to say that they necessarily appreciate the criminality of their conduct," said Benjamin. "Prosecutors around here will usually look at the age of 10 as the age where they might even consider criminal prosecution."
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