Parents are laughing at the intolerance of the zero tolerance
rules that have been instituted in so many public schools. Laughing,
that is, unless it is their own sons who are victimized by policies
that seem to lack common sense.
It's a serious matter when a good kid is expelled from school,
suspended, or sent to a detention facility to take classes with real
delinquents. Here are some recent examples of how the zero tolerance
hatchet is wielded in public schools.
A first grader at Struthers Elementary school in Youngstown, OH,
was suspended for ten days for taking a plastic knife home from the
school cafeteria in his book bag. The six-year-old wasn't threatening
anyone; he just wanted to show his mother he had learned how to spread
butter on his bread.
A third grader at O'Rourke Elementary School in Mobile, AL, was
given a five-day suspension for violating the substance abuse policy
after classmates reported that he took a "purple pill." His offense
was taking a multivitamin with his lunch.
At LaSalle Middle School in Greeley, CO, three 13-year-old boys
were given one-year suspensions because one of the students brought to
school a key chain from which dangled a 2-1/2-inch laser pointer. The
school called it a "firearm facsimile" and sent one of the boys (a good
student who had never before been in trouble) to an alternative program
where he is taking classes with young criminals and juvenile
delinquents in "anger management," "conflict resolution" and gangs.
Four kindergartners at Wilson Elementary School in Sayreville, NJ,
were suspended for three days for playing a make-believe game of cops
and robbers during recess, using their fingers as guns. This case is
now before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
When seven 4th-grade boys (who had never previously been in
trouble) at Dry Creek Elementary School in Colorado were discovered
pointing "finger guns" at each other while playing a game of soldiers
and aliens during recess, the principal found them in violation of the
school's zero tolerance policy. After quizzing them about whether
their parents owned guns, she required them to serve a one-week
detention during lunchtime, sitting in the hall where they were teased
and taunted by other students.
An eight-year-old at South Elementary school in Jonesboro, AR, was
punished with detention for pointing a chicken strip at another student
in the cafeteria while saying "pow, pow, pow."
A seven-year-old at the Edgewood Independent School District in
San Antonio, TX, was banished for eleven days to an "alternative
school" for troubled students when he was caught bringing a pocket
knife to school. For three days, he was the only first grader at the
facility among older students guilty of serious offenses.
A 12-year-old at Magoffin Middle School in El Paso stuck out his
tongue at a girl who declined his invitation to be his girlfriend.
School administrators called this sexual harassment and suspended him
for three days.
When the Fred A. Anderson Elementary School in Bayboro, NC, held a
Camouflage Day, a nine-year-old proudly came in his new duck-hunting
outfit. His joy was smashed when the teacher discovered an empty
shotgun shell in his pocket left over from a weekend outing with his
father, and punished the straight-A kid with a five-day suspension.
In Hurst, Texas, a 16-year-old honor student was expelled from
high school after a security guard found a butter knife in the bed of
his pickup truck parked on the school grounds. The knife apparently
fell out of a box of household items he and his father had transported
the previous day from his grandmother's home to a local Goodwill store.
School officials claimed that the butter knife was a danger to
other students and placed him in a disciplinary alternative school for
Two eight-year-old boys who pointed paper guns at classmates in
Irvington, NJ were charged with "making terrorist threats." A judge
ultimately dismissed their case, but the incident may remain on court
records until the boys are 18.
In a North Carolina pre-school called Kids Gym Schoolhouse, the
state evaluator deducted five points from its high rating because
plastic soldiers were found in the play area. The toys were said to
"reflect stereotyping and violence and can be potentially dangerous if
children use them to act out violent themes."
Zero tolerance is not protecting us from terrorists or criminals.
It is making good kids disrespect school authorities.
Almost all zero tolerance rulings punish boys. Boys are also the
victims of the current fad to eliminate recess and build new schools
It's beginning to look as though these fads can't be mere
stupidity. By banning games boys like to play and preventing them from
running off their excess energy during recess, this nonsense may be
part of the feminist agenda to try to make little boys behave like