Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More zero tolerance ugliness

Two more reports of "zero tolerance" in our schools:
Boy Scouts are supposed to "Be Prepared." But how could a New York Eagle Scout prepare himself to have his dreams derailed by a school's imbalanced "zero tolerance" policy?

Matthew Whalen's plan to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point may be in jeopardy because the high school senior had a 2-inch pocketknife locked in his car. The Lansingburgh Central School District initially suspended him for five days and later added another 15 days to his sentence. [emphasis added]

The honor student, who became a soldier last summer and completed Army Basic Training, including learning the safe use of automatic weapons and a bayonet, kept the pocketknife in a side compartment of his car as part of a survival kit along with a sleeping bag and bottled water. ...

Article here. A two inch pocketknife, locked in his car? Terrifying! At least if you're a school administrator.

And from Delaware, comes this New York Times report of a first grader with an "assault utensil":
NEWARK, Del. — Finding character witnesses when you are 6 years old is not easy. But there was Zachary Christie last week at a school disciplinary committee hearing with his karate instructor and his mother’s fiancé by his side to vouch for him.

(Zachary Christie with his mother, Debbie, his father, Curtis, and the Cub Scout utensil that got him suspended from school. Photo: Mustafah Abdulaziz for The New York Times)

Zachary’s offense? Taking a camping utensil that can serve as a knife, fork and spoon to school. He was so excited about recently joining the Cub Scouts that he wanted to use it at lunch. School officials concluded that he had violated their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, and Zachary was suspended and now faces 45 days in the district’s reform school.

“It just seems unfair,” Zachary said, pausing as he practiced writing lower-case letters with his mother, who is home-schooling him while the family tries to overturn his punishment.

Spurred in part by the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings, many school districts around the country adopted zero-tolerance policies on the possession of weapons on school grounds. More recently, there has been growing debate over whether the policies have gone too far.

But, based on the code of conduct for the Christina School District, where Zachary is a first grader, school officials had no choice. They had to suspend him because, “regardless of possessor’s intent,” knives are banned. ...

Article here. Seems to me that those who support "zero tolerance" are conspicuously displaying a key indicator of zero intelligence.

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