Saturday, May 29, 2004

"Zero-Tolerance" Policies: Another Reason to Abandon Public Schools?

Saw these stories in my latest edition of This is True. (NOTE: I am providing links to other sources for these stories, so some of the details I'm mentioning in my summaries come from This is True and not from the referenced stories. The author/editor of This is True asks that his stories (distributed for free) not be copied on the internet.)

Award-winning student athlete (a baseball player) suspended for four days because school officials saw an 8-inch bat (a "weapon"!) that had broken off of his baseball trophy lying in his locked car. . . .

* Honors student, in a fund-raiser, pays for the opportunity to possibly "pie [his] favorite (or least favorite) teacher or principal in the face." He wins. The moment the 110-pound student pies the principal with the pie she handed to him, she has him charged with assault and suspended for 80 days because she believes he used "too much force." [Hmmm! "Too much force" obviously could be a problem. But as one commentator at says (do a search for the May 21, 2004 story titled "Sour Pies"), "Since she supplied the weapon and instructed Blake to strike her with it, isn't she an accessory in her own assault?"]

* Another honor-roll student used her mom's car to drive to school (her own had broken down). At some point during the day, a trained dog sniffed something wrong in the car. Amanda Conroy was called out of class and asked to open the car. Police found a stun gun inside.
"Bob Conroy said his daughter's punishment increased throughout the day as he talked to an assistant principal, the principal and then an assistant superintendent: from a five-day suspension with no prom, to a 10-day suspension with no graduation ceremony, to expelled from school and no diploma." The school district's assistant superintendent said things would go better for Amanda if Mr. Conroy would keep attorneys and the media out of the issue. Mr. Conroy decided to follow his own route. Amanda was, eventually, permitted to go to her prom and graduate, though she had to finish her year in an "alternative" school. . . .



In following through on these stories (looking for other sources), I'm astonished at all the crazy/stupid stories one can find about the public schools, all gathered in one place.

Check out

But I thought the article at
Ethics Scoreboard was particularly insightful. It helped me understand why "zero tolerance" policies were established in the first place . . . and why they are so completely unethical.
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