After yet more recent “zero tolerance” stories, the tenor of readers is “we want to do something about this!” I’ve had several questions like this, from Aaron in California:
I enjoy your passionate expose of Zero Tolerance mania. Quite frankly, this wave of political correctness and ZT have boggled my mind. I encourage and support your passion to wipe this crazy stuff out by taking action and making our voices heard. Do you think it would be helpful, when you publish such stories, to include an address for that school district so we can send a letter decrying these ridiculous actions they’ve taken? I don’t know if school districts would be as concerned about letters from people who aren’t in their district, but it would be one step better than nothing.
I am aware that some of my readers do contact the schools (or school boards, or superintendents, etc.), but I don’t really want to encourage people to pile abuse on the schools.
It is, in some ways, not really the schools’ fault: they are often forced by ridiculous district policies (and in some cases state laws) to make a difficult choice: to do the right thing (use discretion in applying punishment) and possibly lose their jobs, or follow the rule or law. When the story becomes public, losing their jobs is a real possibility if they dare to exercise common sense.
I’d much rather my readers spend their energies on getting the rules or laws changed. That means more work — finding out where the policy started — and fighting at that level.
And in the U.S., that level is probably federal. There are only two ways to get political attention: throw money at politicians, or make them understand that they’re losing votes over an issue. I recommend the second course of action.
Find your area’s Congressional representatives. This private site tells you who they are, and how to reach them.