Zero Tolerance

Toy Grenade In Backpack: Quick, Call Homeland Security!


Hand grenade
Wikimedia Commons

The police—and even Department of Homeland Security officers—descended upon a Hardin County, Tennessee, school after a teacher found an object that looked like a hand grenade in a student's backpack.

The object was actually a toy hand grenade. While it did resemble the real thing, it was harmless. Still, authorities quickly arrived and evacuated not just Hardin County High School, but every school in the district. Cops dispatched drug-sniffing dogs to search the entire building. Even Homeland Security showed up.

The student who brought the toy to school has not been named, and it isn't yet clear whether it was an accident or on purpose. But according to WBBJTV, the student told his teacher about it, which is what prompted her to make the discovery. It's possible that he brought the toy to school to scare people; but it seems much more likely—and is often the case in these types of incidents—that the presence of the lookalike grenade on school property was an accident and he informed his teacher about it in order to avoid a panic.

The student will face a disciplinary board meeting on Friday, at which time more details hopefully will be made public. But regardless of the students' intentions, the result will likely be the same: Lengthy suspension or outright expulsion. From WBBJTV:

Sheriff Davidson said the student has no history of trouble with the district or with law enforcement. He said they have questioned the student and his parents.

"No history, and whether the intent is there or not, that'll be one of the things we'll look into," he said.

Davis said the student will have to attend a disciplinary hearing Friday to determine what his punishment will be. He is suspended until that hearing.

He also said the school district has a zero-tolerance policy for such items on school property, and the offense could result in expulsion from school for one year.

"Zero tolerance" means ignoring intention and treating even trivial or accidental infractions of school weapon policies as serious crimes.