After several ZT-in-schools stories over the last month, Laine in Utah complained:
I realize you have a thing for zero tolerance stories. I have my own ‘thing’ against them too. But as a teacher, I get tired of hearing the same negative things being emphasized all the time, especially when I see so many positive things happen in my own experiences. How about a ‘zero tolerance success’ stories page? I do know you respect at least some teachers. I am just getting tired of working my tail off only to hear negative things all the time about them. Of course, there are some bad eggs out there. But I know of many who are good eggs who really make a difference in the lives of their students. I respect any diligent, honest person in any job field. Too many of them don’t get recognized either.
Laine, True isn’t about the wonderful things that teachers (or cops or politicians or…) do, it’s an exploration of the human condition using stories about “weird” events, which often means stories about the stupid things people do.
Still, teachers are rarely discussed in ZT stories in True, because it’s usually not teachers who are invoking ridiculous ZT policies. Rather, the stories generally mention school administrators, principals, superintendents or other “officials” who are.
This Should Be Obvious
ZT has a reasonable-sounding premise: it’s reasonable to punish kids who bring illegal drugs or actual weapons to school. But Kool-Aid isn’t a drug, and a drawing of a gun isn’t a weapon, yet we’ve seen case after case of school administrators not just suspending, but expelling kids for committing such “infractions” as having candy (“Eeek! Looks like drugs!!”) or a crude drawing of a gun (“Eeek! A ‘facsimile’ weapon!!”).
Expelling a kid for bringing a loaded 9mm to school? That’s not weird, that’s reasonable. But why do we need a ZT policy for that? It’s already a crime.
Yep: I respect any competent teacher, as well as any other competent professional.
The corollary is I don’t respect incompetence. I write stories about “weird” things; heaven help us if competence is commonly accepted by society as “weird.”
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