Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Overboard Much?


My girlfriend showed me this little number on MSNBC today.

A six year old was suspended from school and later sent to a reform school with genuine juvenile delinquents fo 45 days... because he brought a camping utensil to school to eat his lunch with.  It was his favorite and he always ate his meals with it. 

Apparently, the school decided this innocuous little device was a "weapon" and therefore the boy was now a threat to school safety and dropped the hammer on him by tossing him in with gang bangers and other miscreants over a what amounts to a simple mistake.

Was bringing it to school against the rules?  Yes, and there should be consequences.  But I think mercy applies in this case.  The boy, from what I can gather, had never been in trouble at school before, and he certainly wasn't violent or had violent intentions.  He just wanted to eat lunch with his favorite little tool.  The school should have handled this in a much more merciful manner so he knows not to make the same mistake twice.  It's as simple as that.

I think this case illustrates the failure of so called "zero-tolerance" policies across the nation.  These policies are overly broad and loose in their definitions of "weapons", and almost never take into account intent, character and disciplinary history, among other things.  Often, students who have been punished under these policies carry the black mark with them for the rest of their lives, since they'll often end up on the student's permanent record.  The consequences of this?  Colleges may deny applications, employers may refuse to hire them, etc.  Not an optimistic outlook.

I think it's high time to seriously reevaluate the merits of these policies.  Sound off in the comments section.

No comments:

Post a Comment