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Author Topic: Zero Tolerance?
CrazyGirl
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How many of you agree with zero tolerance in our schools? Read this article. Do you think our current zero tolerance policies need to be amended? Or do you agree with this principal?

I personally feel Lindsay should be allowed to graduate.

What do you guys think?

P.S. Not sexual ethics/politics, but definitely politics, so I posted here. Move if you feel necessary.

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"Always shoot for the moon because even if you miss you'll land among the stars." -Unknown


Posts: 136 | From: City of Angels | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
'rin
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that is screwed up but i understand where zero tollerance rules in schools come into play. say the school is in a smallish community. say a 16 year old is found smoking cigarettes in the bathroom. the normal punishment for this is 3 days suspension. this 16 year old's father is on the school board. nothing happens. or someone cheats on a calculus final by programming all of the formulas into his graphing calculator. instead of getting an f he simply has the class removed from his transcript after his parents buy a set of graphing calculators for the school to use on the exams so they can't be programmed. but if you are going to have zero tollerance rules to ensure equal treatment, you should really be more careful about how you write them.
Posts: 219 | From: lost in yonkers | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
AngelElisheva
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My views on zero tolerance are sort of neutral; I don't totally agree or disagree with it - I see its merits, but I am convinced that it needs to change. I don't like zero tolerance because it leaves no room whatsoever for situational variations, such as in Lindsay's case. In one town, a kindergartener was suspended for picking up a CHICKEN FINGER off of his plate, pointing it at a friend, and saying "Bang, bang!" This is rediculous! I mean, what are they going to do next, make Cops and Robbers illegal? On the other hand, the zero tolerance policy that was instated at my school after Columbine has stopped about three shootings in their tracks, so it does its job. But does it do it's job too excessively? I think so.

Now, what do we need to do to change the policy so that it continues to keep schools safe without unnecessarily punishing people who have done nothing wrong, besides being a little forgetful? In essence, we need to tear apart the whole policy, and leave room for circumstances. Steak knife in the car? Maybe a detention. Switchblade in the car? Well, that's where the zero tolerance of today comes into play. We need to stop murders and serious injuries, but we also need to let girls wear bobby pins in their hair without being accused of bringing weapons to school (those things can poke eyes out, you know ). We can make zero tolerance work, but it needs to be zero tolerance of weapons, not zero tolerance of household appliances.

~Angel~

[This message has been edited by AngelElisheva (edited 05-23-2001).]


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alaska
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I think I kinda agree with Angel here. The "zero tolerance" policy has to change, but as it is, it's in place. So you gotta deal.

IMHO, if this were not the caucasian, blonde, pretty, female, honor roll student, but the average, african-american male student, no one would care for one second to ask whether this kind of policy is "fair" or not.

Yup, it's a shame that she apparently brought a household knife to school (or to the parking lot) unknowingly and got caught, but really, if it's the rules, it's the rules, and I think you can't make an exception just because you *like* the student and because she was forgetful. I still agree though, it is indeed very unfortunate and sad that the girl can't graduate with her class now.

IMO, this is just another example that this kind of policy needs to be reviewed and that circumstance should come into play in the evaluation of this kind of thing.

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Lynne
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I'm against zero tolerance. I've been against zero tolerance for years, even before Columbine happened. The middle school at which I attended seventh grade had one (and to give you an idea of when that was, had I not dropped out of school, I'd be a graduating high school senior this year), and it was completely idiotic. Toy plastic guns were forbidden under their no weapons policy, including brightly colored water guns. Bring a Super Soaker to school, and you'd get suspended or expelled, the same as somebody who brought an actual gun (or a lookalike fake gun, which, unlike a water gun, can actually cause problems because people might think it's real and panic). I had a little plastic florescent water gun key chain at the time and was going to attach it to my backpack in protest, but my mother didn't let me. Anyway. Back on topic.

The problem with zero tolerance is that the field of school administration has, for some reason, a disproportionate number of morons in its ranks. If you hand these people a rule like zero tolerance, you're going to end up with cases like the kid with the chicken finger (or worse -- kids are getting suspended now for just drawing or writing about weapons). Why? Because zero tolerance policies offer a perfect excuse to not use common sense, a commodity which many school administrators, being morons, don't have. I wouldn't have any problem with zero policies in the hands of people with their heads screwed on properly, but unfortunately, that's not the case with many school adminstrators.

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To the rational mind there can be no offense, no obscenity, no blasphemy, but only information of greater or lesser value.
-- Jennifer Diane Reitz

[This message has been edited by Lynne (edited 05-23-2001).]


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AngelElisheva
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Alaska,
I totally agree - we can't make exceptions. And I think that's what the policy is about, not making exceptions. It works really well in concept; everybody gets punished equally for the same thing, bringing a weapon to school. But when the weapon is a letter opener that fell out of its owener's pocket, or when it's a fishing knife that was left in the car from the latest Scouting adventure, that's when things go out of hand. Yes, technically they are weapons, but then, technically so are fingernails, so are glasses, so are pens and pencils. Virtually anything is a potential weapon. And that's where I find the problem. If Lindsay left a knife in her car, then I can understand that some people might be worried. A knife is a knife, after all. But when someone is suspended for leaving a bright green and yellow squirt gun in the car that he took to his younger cousin's house, there's a problem there. The policy needs to become less all-encompassing to the extreme.

Also: "...as it is, it's in place. So you gotta deal." I kinda have to disagree with the way you phrased that. Yeah, it's there, but that doesn't mean we have to just sit back and let it stay there because the high-and-mighties of the school district put it there! This may seem sort of nit-picking, but I come from an area where if you want anything done, you have to get the students involved, because it's the only way to get people to listen. So, for all of you out there, if you don't like zero tolerance, do something about it! You might be suprised at how well people will listen.

~Angel~


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alaska
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Yup, Angel I agree completely, sorry for not phrasing that better.

I surely did not mean students should sit and live with the rules imposed in their districts.
I am all for getting involved and questioning the statutes.

I just meant: these are the rules as they stand at the moment in that school district, and this opportunity should be used to address their unfairness, but for this girl, it is indeed too late in a way. Which is indeed sad.

Ending up as an "example" always is.


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AngelElisheva
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How true, Alaska, how true.

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Nobody knows what you know, nobody's seen what you've seen, nobody's lived what you've lived...so why let them judge you?


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BruinDan
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I'm with you folks on this one, I find "zero tolerance" policies to be unnecessarily tough on students who are already overworked and overburneded with loads of standardized tests.

My school district adopted a zero tolerance weapons policy in 1994, when I was in 10th grade. However, this policy was specific in that it meant one could not carry a weapon, or a look-alike weapon such as a toy squirt gun, onto the campus itself. It did not cover what you could and could not carry in your vehicle, which was a sensible compromise.

Once I got my drivers license, I used to go camping with friends on the weekend. I had steak knives, matches, metal rods for roasting marshmallows and sharp metal tent-stakes. I used to carry them all in a small bag in the trunk of my car. To me, I find this school district's policy of limiting what can be carried in your vehicle, very problematic and troublesome. Things in your vehicle do not pose a problem because they are not easily retreivable unless you have an "open" campus. This particular school district does not allow students to leave the campus and go to their vehicles. For this reason alone, there is no reason to regulate what a student can or cannot carry in his or her vehicle.

Zero tolerance rules are an interesting concept, but school board officials tend to forget that a lot of the things they are cracking down on are things they did themselves when they were in school. Schools are not prisons, and we can't learn in that environment. I think this school district

[This message has been edited by BruinDan (edited 09-26-2002).]


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emsily0
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i'm sort of wondering why the school officials decided to search lindsay's car in the first place.

em

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if you want to kiss the sky, you better learn how to kneel (on your knees, boy) -U2


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CrazyGirl
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quote:
Originally posted by emsily0:
i'm sort of wondering why the school officials decided to search lindsay's car in the first place.

em


Good point Em

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"Always shoot for the moon because even if you miss you'll land among the stars." -Unknown


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CrazyGirl
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Ah ha!
quote:

Brown parked her 1991 Geo Storm in a space not designated for her use, prompting school officials to take a closer look at the car.

They saw the knife on the floor of the passenger’s side, a report said.

Brown, who was already inside the school, came out and gave Scheall permission to search the car.

Possession of a weapon on school property — including the parking lot — carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.


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"Always shoot for the moon because even if you miss you'll land among the stars." -Unknown


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LilBlueSmurf
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This is freaking insane ...

Things were more strict when i was in Toronto. I'm now up in a little suburb 2 hrs east and things aren't as strict. But we still have zero tolerance. And it bites.

I don't agree that things should change just for her tho. As Alaska and Angel said, had this been someone else, people might not be fighting so hard for her to be allowed to graduate w/ her class.

I don't think they really had a right to search her car either. Lockers and coats and bags i can understand, but not the car.


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morganlh85
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I completely disagree with zero tolerance policies in schools. 99% of the time, all they do is punish the innocent. Here are few examples from an article I wrote for school.

A girl saw her friend having an asthma attack, but didn't have her inhaler. So the girl gave her friend her own inhaler to use, saving her life. This was against their zero tolerance policy on drugs in school, so she was suspended and now has the label of drug trafficker on her permanent record.

A boy in kindergarten brought cake to school for his class on his birthday. With the teacher's permission, he brough a plastic knife to cut the cake with. This was against the no weapons policy, so he was suspended for a number of months.

A boy wore a firefighter costume to school for Halloween, which included a plastic ax. He was suspended for a few weeks because it was considered a "weapon."

A boy in woodshop class left the room, forgetting about the wood awl in his pocket. As soon as he left the classroom, the awl was considered a "weapon" and he was expelled.

Theses are the kind of things that happen to innocent people because of these stupid rules. Besides, if someone is going to bring a knife to school with the intentions of hurting somebody, do anyone REALLY think they will be scared out of it by some zero tolerance policy??? I don't think Dylan and Eric were worried about being kicked out of school when they brought all those guns in building.


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Celtic Daisy
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I think that's kinda too far. I can't imagine how upset i would be if that ever happened. I think that she should be allowed to go to the ceremony. You only get to do it once and it must be so hard for her to have to hear about everyone else going and her not being allowed.

I think zero tollerance is a little harsh, in many cases, but not all, depends on the situation.

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AngelElisheva
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Morganlh85,

I completely agree with most of what you're saying - zero tolerance, in many cases, unnecessarily punishes innocent people, as exemplified by the cases you stated. One would think, from these examples, that zero tolerance is nothing but a method for bright-line testing developed by the dimwitted "morons of the administration" (thanks, Lynne ) that gets as many of the good guys as the bad guys. Is this true? Maybe. But what about the stories you never hear? For each instance like the ones you pointed out, there are at least two that the media never bothered to point out in which a concealed weapon was successfully confiscated and the student expelled/suspended appropriately. And why will we never hear of these success stories? Frankly, because good news doesn't sell; the American public wants to hear about all the bad things going on in the world so they have something to complain about, not what people are doing to make it better and safer. So while it most certainly cannot be said that zero tolerance is a complete success (and don't get me wrong here, that's not what I was implying AT ALL), it also cannot be said that it is a complete failure, either.

~Angel~

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Nobody knows what you know, nobody's seen what you've seen, nobody's lived what you've lived...so why let them judge you?
~Personal Quote~


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DrQuack5
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Zero tolerance sucks. We have it at my school, but all the administration is so lazy and non-caring (except for our lovely principal who breifly banned tanktops at the beginning of the year ... different story, though).

I carry a small knife with me almost all the time (a little bigger than a swiss army knife) and have never had any problems at all. I actually used it to cut apples the other day. I know earlier this year, a kid was caught with a gun and immidiatley expelled, but other than that, I don't think there have been any incidents.


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John Doe
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I will agree with the majority here. Principals are supposed to be paid for their wisdom and their discretion. Zero tollerence is just an excuse for zero intelegence on the part of the school administration. There is a very real difference between a kitchen utensil in a car in the parking lot, or a plastic knife for cutting cake, and a loaded .38. Any school administrator who can not make that distinction has no business teaching kids. All in all the world would be a lot better off with more tollerence than with zero tollerence.

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"and these three, faith hope and love abide, and the greatest of these is love"


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AngelElisheva
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quote:
Originally posted by John Doe:
There is a very real difference between a kitchen utensil in a car in the parking lot, or a plastic knife for cutting cake, and a loaded .38. Any school administrator who can not make that distinction has no business teaching kids.


Couldn't have put it better myself, Johnny!

By the way, DrQuack, you might want to be careful with that knife. One of my friends was expelled from his school because he thought the administration would never do anything about his knife. He had carried it for about three months before he was caught, so just watch out.

After all, there is zero tolerance.

~Angel~

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Nobody knows what you know, nobody's seen what you've seen, nobody's lived what you've lived...so why let them judge you?
~Personal Quote~


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Shenzie2007
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I think this topic is particularly relevant now with the school year coming back in for many of us. And I do think it's kinda silly that kids are suspended or worse for drawing or writing about weapons. I draw during the school day, and... drawing blue bunnies fighting off dragons with sticks (or nothing)looks ridiculous.
However, there may well be a purpose for drawing or writing about weapons (or violence in general); suspending a potentially troubled teen probably won't do much good though.

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~jess~
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i dont like zero tolerance when it comes to some issues but when it comes to drugs, yea. it should depend on the situation. a lot of people at the middle school when i was in 7th grade, got kicked out of school for the rest of the year, they went to an alternive school and wasnt allowed to go to 8th grade graduration.
i think she should be able to gradurate, it could be worst.

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