Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Zero Tolerance ≠ Zero Common Sense

It was 7th grade.  I was 4'6" and weighed a grand total of 74 lbs. My rap sheet included being the Class President and being a member of the Scholastic quiz bowl team.
I went to school each day and delivered newspapers each afternoon.
Back then I still had a full head of hair and one day I saw a comb for sale for $3.50.  It was a really cool comb - it flipped out like a switch blade.

I bought it with the money from my newspaper route.  I took it to school the next day and after P.E. I took a shower and did my hair with my cool new comb.
I went to my next class, sat down, and listened to my pre-algebra teacher.

That's when the school cop knocked on the classroom window, came inside, and asked me to come with her and to bring my backpack.  She stopped in the hallway and asked me empty my pockets.  I pulled out a mechanical pencil.
She took my backpack and starting searching through it - and pulled out the comb.
She looked at it and flipped it out.
"Is this yours?"
 - "Yeah, that's mine, why does it matter?" I answered.
"Well, if I would have seen you with it I would have pulled my gun on you - so you're suspended."

That's how zero-tolerance worked for me.

Now there is a 7 year old boy who was eating his pastry, and eventually decided to eat it into the shape of a gun.
He was suspended for 2 days.  Here's the story.

Common Sense apparently is becoming less and less common.  Zero Tolerance is starting to mean zero reasoning, zero intelligence, zero teaching moments, and zero respect.

Doing stupid things in the name of a good cause just means less people will question you until you've made a complete moron of yourself.

Let's step off the slippery slope and make rules that make sense.  Let's actually THINK about our rules and how they protect and teach our children.

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