I heard on the news recently about a third grade boy that was suspended from school because he fought back against a bully. It seems that this bully has been harassing this boy for months. The parents talked to the school authorities to no avail. They could do nothing to protect this child that was under their protection. The parents, having done all that they could, told the boy to do what he had to do to defend himself. The next bullying episode turned into a fight. At that point the school authorities decide to intervene. Apparently bullying doesn't rise to the level that requires intervention but fighting does. Kick in the "zero tolerance" policy. It's automatic. No thought required. It's a no brainer. Suspend all parties involved. Problem over. As a great American once said, "stupid is as stupid does".
I can not understand what thought process would make a school administrator think to allow bullying to go on unchecked. Then when it leads to a fight not find out who is the culpable party and act accordingly. "Zero tolerance" policies, in my opinion, are just a means to shirk responsibility. In the day (you can tell I'm old) a person in a leadership position would look at a situation, make a judgement, and institute a solution and/or punishment. It took the ability to discern right from wrong or, at the very least, comparative degrees of wrongness. Then with a clarity of thought, one hoped, come to a decision. Not only come to a decision but to take responsibility for it. I hope those days may return. Covers-all decisions by committees do not seem to be working very well.
I want to thank those of you who are reading my little blog. My hits seem to be increasing. I have had readers from ten countries around the world. I think that is amazing. When I started doing this, just over a month ago, I was afraid that I couldn't find enough to say. Now I find I'm spending more time reading and writing than I expected. I enjoy doing it but the responsibility to say the right thing, the right way, and get facts straight is a little scary. Also, thank God for spell check. Keep reading. Tell your friends. Feel free to disagree. And, once again, thank you.