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Mislaid Hobby Knife Leads to Suspension

Brian Brus Published: September 3, 1994

When Putnam City eighth-grader Sammy Raof realized he had accidentally brought an X-acto craft knife to school from home, he immediately gave it to his teacher before his first class.

That honesty earned him a 10-day suspension. Now he's facing a possible yearlong suspension, his parents said.

But Superintendent Randy Dewar said, "Zero tolerance is zero tolerance. " The 13-year-old will be suspended for bringing a weapon to school, in accordance with the district's policy, Dewar said Friday.

"Parents will always be upset about this happening ... but I don't think the district's other 19,000 parents and students are upset to know that we're being serious about weapons," he said.

Sammy's parents, Melissa and Ebrahim Raof, said their son had been cutting up The Oklahoman Tuesday night to make covers for his school textbooks for the new school year. He was using a 1-inch-blade X-acto on a cutting board his mother had provided.

After talking with their church pastor, the couple discovered it was later than they realized, and rushed Sammy off to bed. Melissa Raof said Sammy quickly put his work into his backpack, which he carried to school the next day.

Wednesday morning, Sammy rediscovered the knife before class and gave it to his Cooper Middle School homeroom teacher, his parents said.

The knife ended up in the principal's office, and Sammy ended up suspended.

"He is devastated about this," Ebrahim Raof said. "He doesn't believe any more in honesty. He was crucified for his mistake. " But Dewar said a student brought a weapon to school, and that student had already received a copy of the school rules. The rules had even been reviewed in class, he said.

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