ZT: Reactions from Readers

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”


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.

And “HOW DARE I” publish her letter to the editor of a publication? I even notified her that I was going to publish it — yet she didn’t object. I certainly didn’t have to do that: True‘s privacy policy makes it quite clear.

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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8 Comments on “ZT: Reactions from Readers

  1. The best way to remedy ZT problems is NOT through the school boards but through your government representatives. Get them to repeal the law! It is full of gray areas.

    I was a school nurse for four years in a middle school/high school setting, and this is one of the reasons why I left. I do not do politics well, and this one just really put me over the deep end.

    I am sorry for [the mother of a student you wrote about] and her son — he IS being harassed, and the REAL reason was evident in the school’s insistence that he be tested for ADHD. Do you realize how much money they get PER STUDENT with this diagnosis????? And they really don’t care if the doctors agree with the diagnosis or not.

    Be careful, ma’am — they will continue with this, then file charges with the local [child protection service] because YOU refuse to care for your child’s “disability”. May I suggest home school or private institutions?

    Yikes. Indeed that adds another angle. Is there MONEY involved with ZT policies? Isn’t that a scary thought…. -rc

  2. I know that there’s no danger of this, but PLEASE never give up your fight against Zero Tolerance. I knew that political correctness was going to be a problem when it first appeared, and this natural progression is truly frightening.

    This is True’s purpose of pointing out the stupidity all around us makes it the perfect forum for your rantings. I use ‘rantings’ as a pure compliment there, because something as insane as ZT can be addressed only with that vehemence. If you ever think you are giving too much space to the topic, keep in mind that you are educating many people in the spread of this societal cancer. The more ZT is used, the less aware people will be that, instead of being a management plan, it is just an abandonment of all planning and management.

  3. For me the stupidity of ZT policies is beyond any doubt. Maybe this will make people think a little different about ZT: you Americans are proud of your democratic society. It wasn’t easy for communists to enforce communism in Eastern Europe, especially since some of the countries in the region already had pretty democratic governments at that time, so communists got the power by using weapons. One of the most unpopular things they did in Romania, and which they didn’t have the courage to do until the early seventies, fearing it would cause a riot which would end in a blood bath, was to take away guns from the civil population. Even then it didn’t go smoothly — several people preferred to get shot or imprisoned rather than peacefully handing over their guns. Only a few managed to hide their guns in wild places, and these guns became heritage pieces for the respective families.

    But all in all, after already infiltrating the entire civil society with secret police informers, the action succeeded. This was the moment when all resistance against communism was cracked. So you see, maybe this is what ZT enforcers are also about: preparing the ground for some sort of dictatorship. (Maybe I’m exaggerating, but you never know – after 50 years of communism we know that sick minds are a lot more dirty than healthy people can imagine).

    Even if it’s not conscious and by intent, not giving future citizens (children) a chance to get used to the idea that sometimes it requires a fight to protect and enforce one’s rights, and that being prepared for such situations is the only guarantee for a healthy society, and not giving them the opportunity to learn how to defend their and other people’s rights prepares the ground for dictatorship (even if there would be willingness to resist there would be no knowhow and power). In general, anything which tends to replace responsibility with obeying rules leads to an ill society.

    I personally don’t think the ZT types are that organized, but thanks for the view from someone who’s “been there”. It’s certainly thought-provoking…. -rc

  4. It is too bad that Patricia thinks most kids can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality. I wonder if she can?

  5. An IQ of 166, huh? Guess there’s more to the theory of Idiot Savant than I would have thought. The proverbial fine line between Genius and Insanity? I have no idea what my IQ is, and from the sounds of those who brag about theirs, maybe I’m better off.

    Oh, and I’m still wondering, just WHY is it that WE were smart enough at six years old to know that Elmer Fudd shooting Daffy Duck wasn’t the same as real life, but now our kids and grandkids are WAY too stupid to make that distinction? Just what IS it that we did to our own kids that turned them into such helpless, babbling, unthinking nincompoops???

    We decided that “professional” educators knew more than we did, so we stopped teaching them things at home. -rc

  6. I work for a local government in the transportation field and protecting drivers from roadway hazards is one of our primary tasks. I’ve noticed that whenever drivers make poor decisions they try and blame us for not protecting them from themselves. It’s never their fault…even though they obviously knew enough about their vehicle and the traffic laws to obtain a driver’s license. We are constantly reminding our elected officials that we can’t put people in a bubble and force them to drive well. Accidents and deaths are generally preventable, but people make bad decisions all the time. We always hope that the survivors learn from the mistakes that were made.

    As the adults are asking their local governments to protect them from themselves, it’s no surprise that they’re supporting (by vote or non-action) ZT in the schools of their children. By essentially eliminating the daily decision to be reasonable, responsible and socially acceptable, children aren’t growing up by experience…they’re simply getting older.

    ZT is merely the latest tool in the dumbing down of America and adding to the climate of social victimology; where the Patricia’s of the country like to pound on their chests and shout about their own quasi-accomplishments and wait for their children to enter the work force singing the tune, “Do you want fries with that?” (But only if the register tells them it’s OK or place that order AFTER the customer steps on a scale….)

    Oh, and my IQ? 145…but who’s counting?

  7. You’re right about that. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent in court after the schools have dragged me there because I wasn’t raising my kids properly. Can you imagine? I considered them to be old enough in 4th Grade to cross at the traffic light by themselves. Or that, as a parent, it was my decision what constituted a proper snack. Or that I felt our family doctor was much more qualified in making a diagnosis concerning Ritalin than an elementary teacher.

    And also imagine that I not only spent time and money in those courtrooms, but lost a couple of those cases. Imagine that I lost a battle with a teacher who insisted that there were 52 states in the U.S. Or lost to a teacher who felt I was handicapping my kids by teaching to use “please” and “thank you” as a form of social manners.

    But those same teachers could print out tons of papers for the kids to take home, letting us know about the destruction of the rain forests so greedy companies could manufacture paper.

  8. So, Patricia tests in the “Genius” range… But that doesn’t explain the grammatical errors… The “third worse state”? And I tend to think that “geniuses” will usually demonstrate the reading comprehension necessary to not turn a discussion about Zero Tolerance laws into a discussion of rape, abortion, women’s rights, and brainwashing children. Patricia, I think you should know that when you lie, you make yourself look even more dumberer (yes, mocking through the use of horrendous grammar).


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