Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Zero Tolerance Getting Ridiculous

A second grader who pointed a pencil and made shouting noises in a Suffolk, Virginia elementary school is the latest to be suspended in zero-tolerance gun incidents. Although the teacher wrote on the suspension notice, "I told him to stop and he did," she reported the incident to the next level, and the principal suspended the 7-year-old and his fellow pencil-wielding classmate for two days. A school representative said, "A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made." Despite community outrage at this silly reaction by the school, school administrators continue to defend their actions. The father of the suspended boy is a Marine Corps veteran. He said his son is a good student and never had any discipline problems. His son told him, "Well, I was pretending to be a Marine and the other guy was being a bad guy."

In other zero tolerance nonsense, some educators around the country are being scared by plastic Hello Kitty bubble guns, Pop Tarts bitten into something like the shape of a gun, and toy World War II soldiers on top of cupcakes. Some parents say that zero tolerance policies enforced without common sense make a mockery of the real issue of school safety. Stripping little boys of their masculine tendency to engage in military play is harmful, not helpful. When school administrators take zero tolerance to these extremes, they become fear-mongering strangers to common sense rather than responsible adults looking out for the safety of all students.

And it's not just boys who are the victims of zero tolerance silliness. In a California school, an 11-year-old girl was suspended for doing cartwheels and handstands during lunchtime.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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