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Back to May Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 220 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS MAY 2004

More Zero Tolerance Inanities
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. (shreveporttimes.com, 12-5-04)

  • 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)


 
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