By big city standards the incident at Friday's YMCA dance for sixth- and seventh-graders was probably much ado about nothing.
Brainerd Family YMCA officials confiscated a seventh-grader's small knife after he had bragged about having one in his possession. The boy was removed from the dance and suspended from dances for the remainder of the school year.
No one was hurt or threatened according to the preliminary indications.
Nonetheless, YMCA officials took the issue seriously enough that they didn't end the matter with punishment for the boy. They canceled two dances and pledged to talk to parents and law enforcement to ensure that a safe environment will exist before the next dance is scheduled.
Executive Director Randy Klinger stressed the YMCA will have zero tolerance when it comes to weapons. His actions backed up his words.
While his decision to cancel two dances and review security at the events might inconvenience some, it sends a clear message that children's safety comes first. It also lets the young people know that violations of the no-weapons policy are taken seriously. They are not laughed off. Would-be troublemakers must realize attendance at the popular dances is a privilege and not a right.
About 370 kids attended Friday's dance. It's impossible to ever guarantee parents that each of those children will behave appropriately for the two hours of the dance. However, parents can be reassured by the YMCA's clear priority that the children's safety comes first.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.