Student wants school district’s policy revisited after mishap

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KEARNEY, Mo. -- A Kearney High Shool student is facing a 10-day suspension for bringing a pocket-knife on to school property.

Sophomore Kagan Johnson said it was unintentional. He said he was at home helping his father after school on Monday and completely forgot his pocket knife was in his pocket when he headed back to campus for a soccer game.

"The vice principal calls me over and he said, 'What's that in your pocket?' and I said, 'Oh, I completely forgot, it's my pocket knife.'"

Johnson calls it a tool, which he uses for at-home projects, but the school district calls it a weapon. Despite the fact Johnson calls it an accident, he's being punished according to school policy, which is an automatic 10-day suspension.

"I was really upset when they called that morning," said Johnson's father Carl.

He believes his son's punishment is too harsh given the circumstances.

"10 days is too much. If they have to do something I think two days suspension would be have been sufficient. It was an accident, nothing intentional," he said.

Johnson believes the Kearney School District needs to do away with blanket punishments and consider each situation as it occurs,

"I think they should go case by case, and not just overall if something happens, this is what happens," said Johnson.

Johnson's father said he wanted to appeal the punishment, but was told by the assistant superintendent there was no flexibility whatsoever since it deals with school safety.

"I guess you just cant take any chances nowadays," he said.

The Kearney School District declined comment, saying its their policy not to comment on specific situations involving students.

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