Branch Co. mother says son was suspended from school after reporting knife

Branch Co. mother says son was suspended from school after reporting knife. (Courtesy: Denise Davies)

COLDWATER, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Branch County mother says her son was suspended from school for doing the right thing.

Kyler Davies, a 7th grade student, found a pocket knife in his backpack. His mom tells us she bought the bag at Goodwill and never checked it. When her son found it, he told a counselor, and was suspended.

"He was turning it over like he was supposed to, and you are punishing him for doing what's right. So what is that teaching these kids?" his mother Denise Davies asked.

Denise says she doesn't think her son, 12-year-old Kyler, will be back to Coldwater Community Schools.

On the first day of 7th grade at Legg Middle School, Kyler found a pocket knife in his backpack--a bag Denise bought at Goodwill.

"He pulled it out and his counselor was standing there, and he says can I call my mom? And she's like why do you need to call your mom. He says well, I found this, this isn't mine," she said.

The leather case was at the bottom of his bag.

Davies is a foster parent, and tells us none of her children have access to those types of items.

"I said I've never seen it, Kyler's hysterical: 'I've never seen it, mom. I swear,'" she said.

But Davies says, per school rules, the incident meant an automatic one year suspension--a punishment that was later knocked down to 30 school days.

The issue wasn't just contained to he classroom; it also spilled over onto the football field. Davies tells us the school tried to keep her son from playing football.

"The school told me he could not go to their property, he could not play; he can't ride he bus with his team because it's a Coldwater bus," she said.

We spoke with Coldwater Rocket Football, the organization that runs the local football program. It is independent of the district, and tells us the school wanted the rocket program to kick Kyler off the team, but they refused.

"I understand the violence stuff that's going on in schools, I said but when you get some boy that's honest and turns it in--he wasn't trying to hide it--and then he's getting punished for it," Denise said.

Newschannel 3 contacted Goodwill Industries of Central Michigan's Heartland, for a statement on the case.

We received the following, just after 3 p.m.

Goodwill Industries of Central Michigan’s Heartland is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to create job training and employment opportunities for persons with barriers to employment.
Over 1 million items are donated to us each year and we are very grateful for that support. We take the safety of our customers, employees and community very seriously. Our staff does their best to inspect every item donated to us with safety in mind. However, we rely on people to inspect each item donated and it is possible something was missed.
We cannot say with absolute certainty that this event did or did not occur. If it did, we apologize and hope that the School Board takes this statement into consideration when making its decision about this student.

Newschannel 3 has also made several attempts to speak with Coldwater superintendent Terry Boguth. Just before 4 p.m., we received a statement on behalf of the district:

Coldwater Community Schools does not disclose information regarding the discipline of individual students under any circumstance. However, discipline procedures are in our student handbook and are consistent with Coldwater Community Schools Board of Education policies which comply with the current laws of the State of Michigan regarding student discipline.

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