Tony Bandermann told Fox News that his son Braden was on a science camping trip with his class at Garden Gate Elementary School in Cupertino, Calif.
Braden with the Swiss Army Knife that got him in trouble.
According to a school incident report, the boy showed the small knife to other students who then reported him to teachers. The incident report stated that law enforcement was also notified. However, no charges were filed.
Bandermann, who was out-of-town on a business trip, said he received a telephone call from the school’s principal informing him that his son had violated the school’s weapons policy. The punishment, she told him, must be immediate and severe.
“She threatened to expel him,” he said. “She kept telling me, ‘you can’t bring a weapon to school.’ A Swiss Army Knife is a tool not a weapon.”
Since he was unable to pick up his son, the principal put the boy in 24-hour isolation at the camp – held in a teacher’s lounge where he was forced to eat and sleep in solitude.
“It was horrible in every way,” the father said. “The punishment was ridiculous.”
Neither the school nor the Cupertino Union School District returned telephone calls seeking comment.
Bandermann said it’s unreal to think that a boy on a hiking and camping trip could get in trouble for having a Swiss Army Knife.
“I felt as though I want to pull him out of the public education system and homeschool him,” he said. “I felt as though the public education system is becoming the bottom of the barrel. I felt sorry for today’s kids.”
Braden is back in school now – but his father is still fuming. He accused the school district of overreacting.
“They’re not teaching critical thinking,” he said. “That’s what she’s teaching these kids – to react on your emotions instead of gathering information.”