Zero Tolerance: Fighting Fire With Fire

Just when I think there can’t be even more outrageous examples of Zero Tolerance — in schools or in real life — I come across more that I just can’t resist telling you about. But there is hope, which I’ll get to in a minute. First, one of the ZT stories from this week’s (25 February 2007) issue to illustrate:

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What Actually Works Against ZT

This week’s issue had several “Zero Tolerance” stories. The stories themselves don’t matter to the following point: Whenever I run stories like these, readers write to suggest I put the principal’s/administrator’s/school board’s email address in the issue to make it easy for you to write and berate them. Please don’t; it’s not useful for people to write nasty letters to these people.

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Who “Deserves” Freedom?

We’re often told not to discuss politics or religion in polite company. But sometimes your hand is forced. It all started with two stories that appeared in subsequent weeks — in the 9 May and 16 May 2004 issues:

Proof The Terrorists Have Won

Girl Scout troops in Martin County, Fla., decided to have a Mother’s Day “scavenger hunt” at the Treasure Coast Square Mall. Fathers would accompany their daughters and go “window shopping” for items on the hunt list, marking them off as they spotted them, and then shop for a nice present for Mom when they were done. At least 150 father/daughter pairs signed up, but mall management wouldn’t allow the hunt, citing “security” concerns in the post-9/11 world. “Since Sept. 11, we have looked at our security procedures very closely,” said mall spokeswoman Rachelle Crain. First, “How do we know they’re Girl Scouts?” she said of the uniformed 5- to 18-year-old girls. But, more importantly, “Our enhanced security prohibits us from hosting events that allow participants to wander freely around the mall area.” (Stuart News) …Right. Their dads could whip out a concealed credit card or something.

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ZT: Legislative Action

I ran more “zero tolerance” stories last week, and I’m noticing a new trend: when I run the stories, I get mail from readers asking what they can do about this trend, since it obviously is a trend and not just an isolated happening. The new trend: many ask if I would please provide the mail/email address of the schools involved so you can give the administrators a piece of your mind.

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Terrorism Continues at Home

I’ve been saying — for a couple of years now — that “Zero Tolerance” policies and laws “terrorize” school children. It’s hard enough for adults in America to understand the new way of life as we face true terrorism; imagine how hard it is for kids. Here’s how one child tried to cope — and how the “adults” around him reacted.

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