- Politics and Social Issues
Zero Tolerance Policies: Only Idiots and Cowards Create Them
Zero Tolerance Policies are for Idiots and Cowards
The United States is a nation governed by the rule of law, not the fiat of the powerful, and that is one of the things that make it such a great and free nation, but Zero Tolerance Policies are for Idiots and Cowards, not the free-thinking American citizen that is the heart of the nation.
From high-school to the work place, civic organizations to community service groups, and town halls to D.C. offices, the implementation and adherence of and to zero tolerance policies is for idiots and cowards lacking the intestinal fortitude and personal responsibility to do what is right and sensible - instead of what is easy and consequence free; at least for them.
Zero Tolerance Policies in our schools
It is the mandates of Zero Tolerance Policies in our schools that has received the most publicity, and generally generated the most public outrage. As well it should. If school principles and administrators have zero authority or flexibility in instances of zero tolerance policy infractions - then why do we need them? And their expensive salaries? Why not just put a minimum wage caretaker and an instruction manual outlining the school's zero policies in the principle's office?
Do we need to pay for someone with a college degree to have a child arrested for playing cops and robbers with a paper gun? Couldn't a low-level caretaker do that? After all, no judgements or determinations need to be made. No career field backgrounds or experience are required - it's a paper gun, call the cops. And drugs? "Forgeddaboutit," grab that Advil before they can "shoot it" into their veins and hold them down until the police narcotics investigators can get here to arrest them.
Principles, guidance counselors, and teachers are trained to deal with young students as they progress though the educational process. That's their job. See an Advil - take it away and tell the student why, see a bag of heroin - retain the kid and call their parents and police. What's so hard about that? Making choices and judgements is part of the job. It's part of life. What are we teaching our children with these "zero tolerance" policy mandates?
So why not save some money - if a school administration issues zero tolerance policies and mandates, then replace the in-school administrators with off-duty janitors - they can read and dial the phone, and look at the tens of thousands of salary dollars that can be redirected to other educational needs. Sounds like a win-win solution.
And what about the intelligent, responsible, and caring school administrators that just stands there as a 10-year old is handcuffed and hauled off to juvenile detention - wringing their hands and muttering, "I'm sorry, I really am, but I had no choice, there was nothing I could do, she had a Bayer Aspirin in her book bag." Or the defiant third grade teacher standing with head high and that haughty expression of self-righteousness - "He DREW A GUN on his art project sketch, of course I called the police, THAT'S OUR POLICY!"
Boulderdash and poppycock! If these responsible and caring people - that just want to help your children learn, don't have the common sense or courage to stand up and say, "This is silly, I'm not going to do that," then get them away from the kids! Whatever happened to personal responsibility? They know the zero tolerance policies are irrational - so why don't they stand up and be responsible, instead of abdicating all responsibility and just muttering, "It's out of my hands, it's our policy."
But there may be one Zero Tolerance policy that makes sense - the one that applies to zero policy creators and adherents. Write a zero tolerance policy - you're fired, and the cops will be here in ten minutes to chuck you into the slammer! Blindly apply a zero tolerance policy - assume the position! You are on your way to jail, and we will send your personal belongings to your next of kin.
Zero Tolerance Policy Outrages
- Winchendon, Massachusetts - A fourth grader was suspended from Toy Town Elementary School for bringing a Memorial Day souvenir to school - an empty brass rifle shell casing used in the town's Memorial Day celebrations. AN EMPTY BRASS SHELL CASING, which resulted in a five-day weapons related school suspension! A school official told the boy's mother that the shell casing would not be returned and a juvenile probation officer may be assigned to the boy. --- Three "intelligent" school officials had the opportunity to exercise their "intelligence" before this escapade escalated to the suspension and police notification phase. ps. It was a uniformed military veteran from the town's celebration that gave the empty blank rifle shell casing to the boy, that's why he was so proud of it.
- Spotsylvania High School, Virginia - 14-year old honor student expelled for the remainder of the school year for violent criminal conduct and possessing a weapon. The student, who was also in the JROTC program and planned to apply for admission to the U.S. Naval academy, was referred to the police, resulting in juvenile criminal proceedings for assault. The result of that charge on his record means he will be disqualified from applying to the Naval Academy. The student's criminal weapons violation? Shooting spitballs through the body of a ball point pen in the school's hallways.
- Delaware - This one went national, so many may be familiar with it. A 6-yearold first grader took a Boy Scout camping knife that included a folding fork to school to use eating his lunch - and show off, he was a new Cub Scout, and proud of his new camping knife. -- The result? A 45 day sentence to an alternative school! But... Zero Tolerance policy proponents are quick to point out that after the national outcry - this Delaware school district amended its Zero tolerance policy to just a 3-5 day suspension for kindergarten and first graders. -- These are the types of people we are intrusting our children's education to!
And it's not just in the school system.
- Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority - The WMATA has a zero tolerance policy for "quality of life" offenses, one of which is a rule against eating or drinking on the transit system. They even have undercover officers assigned to patrol the transit system looking for offenders. For an adult, the first offense is a $10-$50 fine and a warning, and a second offense means arrest. But minors cannot be fined, and if they can't be fined then the zero tolerance policy makes arrest the only option. A 12-year old Alice Deal Junior High School student that takes the metro to and from school made the mistake of stopping at McDonald's for some fries as she headed to the metro station. Once she was on the train, she was spotted by one of the undercover enforcement officers. as soon as she ate a single French fry, the officer pounced, and minutes later the junior high student was in handcuffs and headed for jail. Nope, couldn't just warn a 12-year old - that's not the policy.
Of course there are many more similarly outrageous zero tolerance policy incidents - everyone has heard of at least a couple. But the point is made - zero tolerance is just a synonym for zero intelligence and zero personal responsibility.
Zero Tolerance Policy Defenders
Of course there are defenders of Zero Tolerance policies. Some even point to congressional legislation as the mandate for them:
"Congress legislated zero tolerance polices toward weapons on school grounds when it passed the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 (Pub. L. 103-382, Title I, § 101, October 20, 1994, 198 Stat. 3907). According to the act, every state had to pass a law requiring educational agencies to expel from school, for not less than one year, any student found in possession of a gun."
But that is a straw horse - easily knocked down, you will notice the law says "Gun" - not a drawing of a gun, or anything in the world that could possibly be construed to be a gun or a dangerous weapon. It says GUN!
The point remains. Creators of Zero Tolerance Policies are spineless idiots. And the people that enforce them to the letter are irresponsible cowards that relinquish any claim of personal responsibility, and hide behind the transparent defense of - "I had no choice - it's our policy."
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