CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) – Emmanuel Christian School hosted a “pocket knife safety class” for students in fourth to twelfth grade on Friday as part of a policy that allows students to carry knives to school.

The idea for the class came about last year, when a few students at the school asked Headmaster, Josiah Batten, if they could carry pocket knives. He looked into the West Virginia school laws to see if the students were able to so that he could give them a fair answer. In his findings, he found that under West Virginia law, if a private school has a written policy stating that students can, then they are allowed. So, Emmanuel Christian School developed a written policy that now allows students to carry pocket knives with a blade no longer than two inches, as long as they have earned an “Eagle Talon Card” from taking the class.

Eagle Talon Card (WBOY Image)

The headmaster of the private school taught the class a variety of safety measures when it comes to pocket knives, such as:

  • How to properly cut – never cut towards yourself
  • How to sharpen a knife – a dull blade can be more dangerous than a sharp one
  • How to use them responsibly – using the pocket knives as tools, rather than using them inappropriately

After taking the class, students will receive an “Eagle Talon Card” that they will sign, agreeing to use the tool only when needed and responsibly.

In an interview with 12 News, Batten said it’s important to teach the students about knife safety because a knife is the most versatile tool in existence when used safely and responsibly. “They do have some dangers with them, right? It’s a sharp object, so kids need to know how to use it safely and responsibly. It makes me feel pretty good. I think kids need to learn responsibility by having to be responsible, so this is a way to give them something to be responsible for and to demonstrate that responsibility and that maturity.”

Batten is Eagle Scout himself and was very excited to teach the class. As a scout, he was taught to always carry a pocket knife, just in case. He explained that he was happy to help teach the kids something that he had learned growing up.

A few parents have reached out to 12 News with concerns regarding the class. Batten wanted to give the parents some clarity by saying, “Pocket knives are really just like a tool; any tool can be dangerous if we don’t know how to use it. Hammers and screwdrivers can be dangerous, it’s all about learning how to use things safely and how to use them appropriately so that you can use them for the things you need to use them for.”

The class could be taught again throughout the school year, depending on if more students want to continue learning. As long as students are in fourth grade or above, they can stay after school for the class.