Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you have probably seen the “stupid school” articles I share.  Many of the stupid school decisions are based on a zero tolerance policy. The most recent one that really made me mad was this one:

http://espn.go.com/boston/story/_/id/9826842/high-school-athlete-massachusetts-suspended-driving-drunk-friend

where a high school athlete was suspended after she went to a party to drive a drunk friend home. She did not attend the party and did not drink. She was only there to get a friend who called to ask for a ride. Instead of thinking and applauding the teen for making sure a friend didn’t drive home drunk, the school used “zero tolerance” to make a really stupid decision. I could post article after article of other schools doing the same thing.

Zero tolerance is supposed to be about “making kids safer”. What zero tolerance does is take common sense and any thought out of a process that needs common sense and thought. If we are going to suspend, arrest, expel, etc a student I would like to think some thought was put into the decision to ensure that it is the proper decision. This isn’t happening. Anyone using any sort of thought process can’t possible believe it is right to suspend a student for making sure a friend got home safely. Would the school rather the friend drive drunk? Are schools really safer because kids are suspended for pretending their fingers are a gun? Wouldn’t we feel better knowing school administrators have the best interest of the kids in mind when deciding on punishment instead of just following an excessive, blanket zero tolerance party? If they aren’t required to think, can’t we at least replace them with computerized VP’s of discipline to save money?

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