Just today there was an article about an 8-year-old boy who was banned from wearing a hat because the hat happened to have a small toy soldier on it holding a gun.
Here is another story:
“The school and juvenile justice system sent my 13-year-old daughter to jail for 30 days for unintentionally bringing two pocket knives to school and voluntarily turning them in. No harm was done, nor was there any threat to another person yet she has to suffer, and apparently so are many other young people I’m finding out, as well.”
America’s public schools were once considered the hope of freedom and democracy. Yet, as John Whitehead reveals in this week’s vodcast, students currently attending public schools will be marked by overreaching zero tolerance policies, heightened surveillance, and an emphasis on behavior-controlling drugs–all resulting in the destruction of privacy and freedom.
Time and again we hear of utter stupidity coming from teachers, principles and law enforcement because of ‘zero-tolerance’. Children being suspended and/or arrested for having a single aspirin at school. Children being interrogated because they drew a picture of their marine father holding a gun. The list is endless.
Any little mistake means automatic conviction, fine or jail time with no room for common sense. This has led to a number of cases where even judges have been found guilty of profiting from ‘zero-tolerance’. Just go and Google “kids-for-cash scandal” for that story.
The main problem with ‘zero-tolerance’ is that the system fails to differentiate between the good kids who make a simple mistake and those hooligan delinquents that cause trouble.
A new study by two Michigan State University researchers, revealed that zero tolerance had in fact failed in its mission to make students feel safe at school. Thats says something, doesn’t it?
Possibly a better way is to look at gross negligence, willful intent and damage.
Bringing a plastic knife to school to eat your lunch isn’t negligent, there is no intent to harm and there is no damage. The result: No violation. But I guess that is asking too much from these people in this day and age.
Innocent children’s lives are being wrecked by this absurdity. They are getting criminal records and are being taught that the law is seldom fair. This is blurring the line between good and bad, justice and injustice, mercy and ruthlessness.
Are these the things we should be teaching our kids? I think not.
It is about time that these ‘zero-tolerance’ advocates start using their brains and temper ruthlessness with reason and good old common sense!