Thursday, March 13, 2014

You Can't Fix Dumb

Most kids are not stupid. But most kids are dumb. They don't plan ahead. Everything is in the moment. There brains are, basically, unformed mush. Even adults do stupid things. Like forgetting to take your 45 Colt pistol out of your suitcase when you are heading to the airport. Just look at the pictures that are occasionally published showing the piles of stuff that the TSA confiscates.

So a two year old girl in Canada gets kicked out of preschool for three days because she stuck a sealed plastic bag containing a grilled cheese sandwich in her pocket and brought it to school. In Maryland, an eight year old boy was suspended for biting a pop-tart into the shape of a gun.

In Ohio an eighteen year old who was training to be an EMT is spending thirteen days in jail because his car was searched and they found a pocket knife in his EMT vest. A knife would be standard equipment for an EMT. This stint in jail may ruin his whole future.

Two young lads had their picture taken. They happen to be black and the were holding up three fingers. Both of their football jersey numbers are three. The principal of their school with out even asking deemed them to be flashing gang signs and threw them out of school.

There are more. Oh so many more. And new ones each week. All in the name of the stupidest rule in history, "Zero Tolerance". I am not an extremely tolerant person when bad people do bad things but let the punishment fit the crime, if, indeed, there is a crime. Zero Tolerance is simply a means to take responsibility from school administrators.

It was said in the news that the two boys that held up three fingers were good students and had no gang affiliation. I doubt that their school principal really knew what their situation was. But instead of calling in the parents and treating this rationally, the principal took the extreme position immediately.

I know times have changed. But they haven't changed as much as some would believe. A criminal has more rights than a school child. Under zero tolerance a child is guilty with no consideration of innocence or scale. The pointing of a finger has become the same as pointing a loaded gun. A Pop Tart is as threatening as a switchblade.

Proper discipline is a difficult task. Sometimes it takes restraint and wisdom. Sometimes it requires ruthlessness. When the system abrogates the restraint and wisdom they often harm those that can ill afford more harm than they already receive outside the school. Zero tolerance makes zero sense.

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