I’ve gotten plenty of feedback on a recent rash of Zero Tolerance stories. Julie in Iowa (Iowa?! Sheesh. ZT has infiltrated!):
Wow, what a day to get an issue on zero tolerance. My six-year-old (kindergartner) came home today and told me that he has a girlfriend and that he kissed her on the cheek. I immediately thought of your stories of all the little people who have been suspended or worse because of doing something so innocent. I had to gently explain to him that it isn’t allowed because some ‘grownups’ don’t understand the kindness that children show to one another. He would get in LESS trouble for telling his teacher to kiss his ass than kissing his friend on the cheek!!
Send your son to this page when he’s in high school, will you Julie?
Janis in Pennsylvania:
I typically don’t have time to read your entire mailing, let along click the link to your web site. I finally decided to spend the time tonight to see what all your bitching about ‘zero tolerance’ policies was about. I am shocked. What can I do? I don’t know what the answer is, but, this fanatical ‘zero tolerance’ stuff is bizarre. How can I get involved? Let me know.
John in California:
This zero tolerance nonsense is gnawing at me. We’re turning every child with grape juice or a letter opener into a criminal. These asinine fools are the worst kind of child abusers. They don’t break their bones, they break their spirits. How can we get them fired and registered as child abusers so they can never harm our youth ever again?
By not standing for it — at all — when (not if!) it happens in schools around you. By demanding that your legislators end ZT laws and outlaw ZT policies. You are right: it is psychological abuse of these children. They’re turning normal childhood play into criminal acts, and it’s damaging them for life. It must be stopped.
Don in California, after seeing the tiny keychain toy gun on my web site (which caused a seven-year-old to be suspended):
I’m waiting for the day when a student gets suspended for bringing this picture to school — maybe next week?
Actually, there have been cases of kids suspended for just crude drawings of guns. Imagine that: suspended for drawing pictures like they see in their history books! No matter how bad you think it is, the reality is worse.
And Then It Gets Crazy!
Before you decide that its obvious to “everyone” that ZT is stupid, read this from Patricia in WebTVland:
My husbands [sic] niece (her brother tested for genius) says she ‘found’ a box cutter while going to her school. The school was going to expel her. All they did was suspend her for a week. I am thankful that she does not go to the same school as my nieces and nephews! I think she belongs in a juvenile detention center! I 100% agree with zero tolerance. A toy gun should be taken away and the parents should have to come to school to pick up the toy….children are the one’s [sic] killed with guns and teaching them to play with them is wrong (yes I played with toy guns but I knew the difference and there were no real guns available to me.) We live in a different world and people (you) need to regroup with the times to keep the kids safe and alive. Yep! the wooden knife can stab a kid in the eye or the throat. I have an I.Q. of 166 so please don’t tell me I am part of the problem. I come from the 3rd worse [sic] city (1978 it was one of the countries [sic] top 10 safest and by 1982 it was the 3rd worse [sic]) so I know what molitof [sic] cocktails through windows are. Metal detectors are now at every entrance and the schools are divided into sections that if a riot starts everyone in that section is trapped…teachers and students until the police come and let the survivors out. There are cages in the places that used to be gym rooms. You do not live in the hell zones. YOU are part of the problem. The children are the future and the only thing that matters. Their safety …..any way we have to provide it…including not permitting animals to drag abusive items to school. Personally, I do have strong feelings about animals that raised themselves because all of the welfare whores breeded [sic]. Our government did a great disservice to the ‘young adults’ if that is what you wish to call animals in gangs, by letting their ‘mothers’ whore around instead of getting jobs and raising their children. Some animals have a kid and dump it in a matter of hours….I see no difference in them and a whore that gives a kid a bottle filled with rotten milk that is too thick to get out of the bottle and does not change the diaper more then once a day…..letting the kid rot in it’s [sic] own fetal [sic!] matter…..no wonder the ‘kids’ grow up to be animals…..I think the ‘parents’ (both male and female) should be imprissoned [sic] and forced factory work to pay the childrens [sic] bills and reeducation and the ‘kids’ should be instatutionalized [sic] and reprogramed [sic]. Nothing you can say can make zero tolerance a bad thing.
Perhaps not — maybe all I need to do to discredit it is publish letters like Patricia’s to show the kind of mentality behind ZT.
An IQ of 166? Maybe Patricia failed math as well as English and doesn’t know how to put decimal points in the right place. (I don’t always add “sic”s to letter writers’ mistakes, but sometimes it does make a point, eh?)
Patricia called her letter “proof” that I’m “wrong” about ZT. I guess it does prove something — but not about me or ZT.
January 2 Update
I heard back from Patricia. Here’s her response in its entirety (all formatting and caps shown verbatim):
Sick is what you are in the head.
I am assuming that your mentality is the same as people that want to rape women of the right of freedom. I do not believe in abortion personally but if freedom means the woman”s I was going to write womans but God forbid I do not do everything perfectly for an anal retentive such as yourself! I do not think a person should have to give up her life to have a child or carry a rape child (and yes I already know only 5% or rape victims actually wind up pregnant.
Well I am going to do you a favor, you soap box king (and that is the only reason that you have this site is so you can spew your opinions onto others. Why don’t you try selling the script instead of your opinions. Maybe you will be “lucky” and your kids and/or grandkids will wind up in one of your “free” schools and wind up a victim of your own opinions. As for me I WANT the kids to be safe from you and your family. I am going to do you a favor and take my name off of your “list”
HOW DARE YOU USE MY LETTER OR MY NAME WITHOUT MY PERMISSION! YOUR A RAPIST OF IDEAS!!!!!!!!!
I have found mistakes in your column so you are a hypocrite for not correcting your own letters. I happen to do a wonderful job with the typing that I do! Some of us was not lucky enough to have parents rich enough to send us to collage.
You remind me of my physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally abusive father! You don’t CARE if the kids live or die!
I hope if any child gets hurt because of your preaching that you are help accountable!
Maybe prison would do you some good.
So she clearly missed the point of the discussion completely.
I’ll only run one letter on this, from Ryan in B.C., Canada:
I don’t usually read your comments in detail, but today I took the time to read your commentary, and I’m glad I did. One reader email, though, really stood out, and I feel I have to respond.
From Patricia in WebTVland:
“I think the ‘parents’ (both male and female) should be imprissoned [sic] and forced factory work to pay the childrens [sic] bills and reeducation and the ‘kids’ should be instatutionalized [sic] and reprogramed [sic]. Nothing you can say can make zero tolerance a bad thing.”
Now, my interpretation of the above passage may be off, but is she advocating forced labour camps (“forced factory work”) and brain-washing (“‘kids’ should be… reprogrammed”)? I don’t know about you, or other This is True readers, but that sounds a little too Third Reich/1984 for my tastes.
I will agree with her on one thing, though: “Nothing you can say can make zero tolerance a bad thing.” That’s absolutely right; zero tolerance is inherently off the mark, so it’s not necessary that you say anything to make it a bad thing. After all, nothing I can say can make the sun shine.
One more thing — does anyone else find it deeply offensive that she repeatedly referred to people (particularly mothers on welfare, or kids in gangs) as animals?
Anyways, keep up the good work. This is True is consistently hilarious, and often disturbing….
She claims an I.Q. of 166, Ryan. That doesn’t mean she actually has it.
But be sure of one thing: even if she did test that high, her “thinking” goes to prove that no one, no matter how intelligent, is immune to brain damage from addiction to alcohol.
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