If ‘zero tolerance’ was good policy, stuff like this could NOT happen

I invite you to click on over and read Ted Nugent’s missive about zero tolerance in our schools: Zero Tolerance = Zero Common Sense.

We’ve all heard multiple stories about stupid instances of enforcing zero-tolerance policies where they are obviously not appropriate. This is hardly an isolated case.

Let’s agree on this: any school official who hides behind policy to justify a one full year suspension of a 7-year-old — for accidentally bringing a plastic toy gun to school in his backpack — is a miserable excuse for a human being.

Full stop. Because that level of punishment is obviously ridiculous to anybody with an ounce of common sense.

But for those with no common sense — and there are apparently a lot of them out there — let’s spell it out. It’s a plastic toy. It is not a threat to anybody’s safety. Ergo, there is no reason to punish the boy at all, much less suspend him for a year. Any 12-year-old could recognize that.

I’m sorry, but I don’t care what the extenuating circumstances are, this is just about the stupidest abuse of power I’ve ever heard.

Just use some adult judgment, warn the kid not do bring it back, and move on.

We used to understand this, institutionally. But now, instead, clear abuses of power like this sometimes  occur. Highly-paid school administrators around the country —  paid by our tax dollars — hide behind stupid policies, and shrug their shoulders, and say “sorry, it’s school district policy.”

It’s a stupid policy, then. Work to change it to avoid gross injustices, and irreparably harming our children. On our dime.

Show some leadership. This is what leaders do. Or are you more comfortable hiding behind stupid policies, in which case, we can find some other job for you to do, one that isn’t highly paid, and doesn’t have a cushy pension. Which we also pay for, by the by.

I do understand that schools are in a tough position, and have difficult kids and parents and lawyers and unions to deal with. But that is part of the problem: lawyers and unions drive the agenda of your local school district. Adminstrators live in fear of these two powerful forces. And who pays for it? Our kids, in the form of draconian idiocy, and us, in the form of actual cash money to fund that idiocy.

I’m not such a big fan of funding draconian idiocy with my tax dollars. You?

Maybe they could spend more time, oh, I don’t know … improving the quality of education our kids get? Can we try that for a while?

Let’s agree on this: zero tolerance policies are bad news. We knew that intuitively, and now we know it factually too, based on feedback like this.  When a policy specifically prevents the possibility of equitable and fair treatment for children in even the worst-case scenario, it is, by definition, bad policy. End of story.

We need to get rid of zero tolerance policies. We need to restore common sense to our education system. We need fewer lawyers, and more people focused on educating children. Now.

And the pressure has to come from the parents and taxpayers.


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