Read on for the latest Education Reporter roundup of disciplinary action under
school "zero-tolerance" policies against drugs and weapons:
- A Louisiana 10th-grade girl was expelled from high school for possessing
Advil, a common over-the-counter pain reliever. Following an appeal to the school
board committee, the committee and the full board voted unanimously to uphold the
administrative decision. School officials apparently believed that state law
requires a one-year expulsion, although there is some question about this.
- An Alabama 3rd grader suspended for bringing a one-inch-long G.I. Joe toy gun
to school was reinstated after school officials decided the toy did not violate
the zero-tolerance policy against weapons. (tuscaloosanews.com, 2-26-04) An
8-year-old was suspended from a Washington state public school for taking two
similar toy guns to school. (al.com, 2-26-04)
- Six police cars arrived to handcuff and arrest an 18-year-old son of a
physician and the PTA president who mistakenly brought his unloaded shotgun, in
the gun rack of his truck, onto school property. A longtime hunter, he had
recently bought the gun and used it at the shooting range. The California
college-bound student was kicked out of school and charged with two felony counts
of possessing a firearm within 1,000 feet of school property. (sacbee.com, 3-3-04)
- Another Alabama student was sent to an alternative school after being caught
taking Motrin, another over-the-counter pain reliever. (al.com, 2-26-04)
- A Wisconsin student who left an unloaded hunting rifle locked in a car trunk
on school grounds was suspended and spent a weekend at a county juvenile center.
(jsonline.com, 11-30-03) The federal Gun Free Schools Act, passed in 1994,
mandates that schools receiving federal funds expel for at least a year any
student who brings a firearm to school, subject to some exceptions.
- A 16-year-old Idaho boy who had a rifle locked in his car trunk was arrested
and will face charges. A school suspension is likely, according to a district
official. (idahostatesman.com, 3-13-04)
A federal official, asked about a toy-gun case, recommended common sense to
schools enforcing zero-tolerance rules. "The punishment has to fit the crime,"
said William Modzeleski, associate deputy undersecretary of the Education
Departments Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. "On some zero-tolerance
policies, the punishment far outweighs the crime." (Associated Press, 2-26-04)