Saturday, March 1, 2014

Stupid "Zero Tolerance" Snags Two More Youths, Despite Waning Popularity Of Practice

There's still way too many adults in positions of authority, like at schools who have zero understanding of nuance and circumstances, so they cling to zero tolerance policies because they can't think for themselves.
If a kid doesn't realize his father left a knife
in his car, and his son drives the car to school not
knowing the knife is there, should we consider the
kid a criminal?  

The first in is Clarksville, Tenn., where David Duren-Sanner, 18, drove his father's car to school, and didn't realize a knife his father used was in there.

The school decided to randomly search the car and found it.  Sanner got in trouble.

And it would have been fine if he got in a little trouble. After all, he could have looked through the car to see if anything not allowed on school property was there.

Maybe give him a half hour of detention after school and a stern lecture, something like that, since he really didn't mean any harm.

But oh, no.  School district officials can't think for themselves, so they gave him a 10-day suspension, 90 days in so-called "alternative" school, and had police charge him with criminal possession of a prohibited weapon.

All that would probably have screwed up his chances for college, and by extention a good job and a successful life.

Because it's always important to ruin a kid's life for a minor, inconsequential infraction.  It would have been too much work to investigate and ask questions, to see whether this was a major school threat that warranted extreme action to protect students, or what turned out to be reality in this case, a very minor, dumb (maybe) mistake by an 18-year old.

I guess since the school administrators are as far as perfect as a human can possibly be, they expect the kids to be absolutely perfect, as sort of a counterweight.

Trying to demonstrate they do understand nuance, the school, in the face of an appeal and really bad local publicity, they reduced his time in alternative school to 30 days. Oh how big of them!

I've seen news stories in Google searches of backlashes to this kind of zero tolerance policy going back to at least the year 2000. But the practice remains entrenched in many school districts.

Many other school districts have plenty of smart, dedicated administrators and teachers who want the students to succeed. To me, the ones that cling to zero tolerance policies are just lazy, dumb and don't give a damn about the students. Which really sucks.

In another really stupid case, a 13 year old boy in the Chicago area is facing a felony charge of battery to a police officer.
If a 13-year old kid throws a snowball and it hits
 a cop in the arm, but doesn't injure him,
should that kid be considered a felon?  

So what did he do? Hit the officer? Try to grab his gun? Kick him?

Worse, at least in the eyes of police and the local school district. The kid threw a snowball, which hit the arm of a police officer who was sitting in a cruiser with an open window, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

Yes, yes, of course it's wrong to throw snowballs at police. The kid deserved a good talking to, and maybe some other in-school punishment?  But a felony?

A few people support this. One area resident was quoted as saying that if the kid got away with the snowball at age 13, he's shoot somebody with a gun at age 16 or 17.

If (the boy) had gotten away with it, who's to say what they'd do next," quoted local resident and educator Ray Fields.

Um, that's why you punish the kid now at a level that fits the crime. And if for some reason that didn't sink, punish him worse the next time he does something wrong.

If you wreck a kid's life at the very first, modest infraction, why would he stop doing worse things? If you take away his future, what's the point of following the rules and going for success using that route? He might as well just be a criminal,  as you labeled him when he was 13.

I'm sure society will thank you for that, Mr. Fields.

And you have to look at the kid's history. The boy supposedly had never gotten in trouble for anything until this.

Here's a message to Mr. Fields and any other educator who regards kids as a dangerous enemy, deserving to be locked up: You're harming this country and its future every bit as much as criminals who do use guns.

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