Zachary’s offense? Taking a camping utensil that can serve as a knife, fork and spoon to school. He was so excited about recently joining the Cub Scouts that he wanted to use it at lunch. School officials concluded that he had violated their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, and Zachary was suspended and now faces 45 days in the district’s reform school.A six-year-old child, suspended for 45 days for carrying his multi-purpose tool to school. And this is supposed to prevent future Columbine-style shootings?
This whole business grows from a suspicion that somewhere, somehow, somebody is encouraging delinquency by not being tough enough. We have to have minimum sentencing guidelines because judges aren't tough enough. We have to have "three strikes" laws because otherwise we might coddle repeat offenders. And we need "zero tolerance" rules in schools because otherwise soft-hearted teachers and principles might smile and say "tut-tut" to a kid who brings a knife to school, and the next thing you know the whole school is overrun by violent gangs.
Still, some school administrators argue that it is difficult to distinguish innocent pranks and mistakes from more serious threats, and that the policies must be strict to protect students.Because, see, school principals are complete morons who can't tell the difference between a six-year-old who just joined the Cub Scouts and troubled kid looking for a fight.
I suppose there is also the "do something" phenomenon, that is, school administrators feel like that they have to have an answer to the question, "what have you done to make our schools safer?" But they think up some creative lies instead of burdening us with this kind of crap?
I do understand that there are issues about fairness, and I know some schools adopted stricter guidelines when they found that black kids were suspended more often than white kids for the same offenses. But that is not a good enough reason to remove human judgment from the equation, because without some element of judgment, we get lunacy. Suspending good kids from school is not only harmful and stupid, it feeds the belief that government is some kind of out of control monster. And that hurts everybody but Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh.