|Returning to the thread...|
Montessori schools - those that are the genuine article, anyway - use glass glasses and breakable plates and real knives in the classroom. The kids are taught the proper way to peel, slice, etc., in the preparation of food, as they prepare their own meals. In such an environment, a child learns systematically how to deal with sharp edges and common physical danger.
This kid was not in a Montessori School.
I went to public schools. One of the kids in my Ist grade class - Jesse - had a glass eye, due to an accident with a knife that he and another kid were playing with.
While in the 5th or 6th grade, I used to hang out with my best friends - twin brothers whose mother taught at the school - in their mother's car as they were waiting for her to leave. Someone had given their mother a switchblade, in case of attack, which she kept in the glove compartment. I reached for the knife just as one of my friends hit the button. That ended any possible career for me in playing piano or guitar or anything requiring full use of the left hand.
My best friend in high school kept a single-shot shotgun in his loft bedroom. Unloaded. But, he had brothers who were six or seven years old. I.e., old enough to figure out how to break open the shotgun and put in a shell, but not mature enough to think about the possible consequences.
When I visited him, while we would talk, I used to repeatedly break open the gun, snap it closed and then sight it in while gently easing the hammer down with my thumb, in order not to damage the firing pin.
One day, after we had gone out to play tennis, I think, when we returned, I started to break the gun open once more, at which point, irritated for whatever reason, my friend exclaimed something like, "Enough! DON'T break the gun open. You KNOW it's unloaded. You checked it fifty times a couple hours ago."
I replied that I ALWAYS checked a gun before I did anything with it. He replied that that was nonsense.
"Here, point the gun at my head. Cock the hammer. Pull the damn trigger! I dare you!"
So, I did. But, I let the hammer down easy - out of habit, and, then, without thinking, out of habit, I broke the gun open and a 12 guage shell popped out. His brothers thought it would be a fun joke. My friend still remembers that night.
When I worked as a Montessori director, we had kids of all kinds, from all kinds of families. One of them was a scrawny little 2~3 year old whose father was a marine drill sergeant. This kid was usually more or less ok, until an adult - any adult - paid attention, at which point he became a little demon, physically attacking other kids, seriously, as it attempting to poke their eyes out with a pencil, without any display of anger or any warning.
We debated on what to do. We tried talking with the parents. Things got worse, such that one of us had to constantly watch or physically restrain this kid. Then there was some spill and we had to take his wet shirt off, and we discovered the raw welts all over his back from his father's beatings. It turned out that the beatings were his dad's solution to everything, and when we told him about the problem, naturally he used his solution.
While suspending a kid for having a scout knife or an aspirin is stupid, it is also the case that schools do have to go overboard in dealing with security situations. Even private schools have to deal with liability. ONE serious accident can bankrupt them. The proper procedure is to take the knife or other dangerous item away, without unwarranted hostility and contact the parent to discuss the issue. In the case of drugs, the problem is that other kids can steal them and may not realize that the pill is actually something quite dangerous as they swallow it to show how hip they are.
There was a program a few years back analyzing the effectiveness of gun awareness training programs for kids. Many parents swore by these programs, in which young children would learn all about what guns could do and why they shouldn't touch them under any circumstances. So, the show did a few tests with these kids, who could recite chapter and verse of gun awareness. In EVERY case, when a real, apparently loaded handgun was placed where the kid could find it, he not only picked it up, but within a minute or so pointed it at a classmate and pulled the trigger. The parents were aghast, of course.
Yet, I'm sure, there are still thousands of parents who believe that it is possible to teach young children not to touch guns.
I had a friend with cats - and kittens. She also had high shelves laden with fragile glassware. Any time the kittens would even look at the shelves, she would "HSSSSST!" at them and clap her hands and they would stop.
One morning, I visited her before she was ready to go out, and sat in the living room while she prepared in the bathroom. The kittens had not generalized her behavior to other humans, obviously, but they were smart enough to realize that if she wasn't in the room, then there was no "HSSSST!" coming. So, guess where they spent 100% of their time while I sat on the couch and watched.
Young children generally do not have anything close to a mature, integrated consciousness. The closest thing to it is hero worship of some adult, typically a father or mother. Not all kids have anyone to look up to and model themselves after, and any school or other venue that deals with them has to realize that and deal with it in order to avoid horrendous consequences.