State senator wants to limit abuses of zero tolerance

A healthy dose of sense is missing from school discipline as demonstrated by the 12-year-old in New York handcuffed and taken to a police station for doodling on her desk. The girl wrote “Lex was here 2/1/10″ on her desk Monday. Education department spokesman David Cantor said the incident shouldn’t have happened, and that common sense should prevail. (Read story here.)

A Georgia state senator is saying the same thing about overreactions in Georgia schools. Here is a good op-ed on this issue by Sen. Emanuel Jones. (This will run in the print AJC on the Monday education page.)

By Emanuel Jones

There is a crisis in our schools, a crisis of common sense. What else do you call it when a well-behaved, 14-year-old boy is treated like a criminal for voluntarily turning in a pocket knife to his principal?

Zero tolerance policies often entrap good kids into a life of crime. I have introduced a legislative package to limit the abuse of zero tolerance policies and impose common sense,

The 14-year-old gets good grades, participates in sports and after-school activities. Yet, under the zero tolerance policy enforced by his Morgan County school, Eli Mohone was arrested and  spent the night in a youth detention center before receiving a hearing.

Under Senate Bill 299, judges will be required to hold a hearing before a student can be taken into custody.

Zero tolerance has contributed to rising suspension and expulsion rates. The number of children suspended rose from 1.7 million in 1974 to 3.1 million in 2000. Many of the kids expelled for committing  a minor infraction have had no previous history of misconduct.
Findings also indicate a racial disparity in who is expelled. In 2000, African-American students represented only 17 percent of public school enrollment nationwide, but accounted for 34 percent of suspensions.

Once expelled or suspended, these kids must enroll in an alternative school, many of which lack the educational resources and recreational activities of their regular school. Surrounded by kids who have committed dangerous crimes, they fall behind in their work. An environment that creates such a barrier to good education can push a child into committing more infractions, repeatedly landing them in jail and clogging an already strained legal system. Schools should be a place to learn, not a pipeline to prison.

I am also submitting companion legislation that requires school districts to keep and provide the Department of Education with a  record of kids disciplined under  zero tolerance. Existing law does not make the distinction of how many kids are suspended using this section of the law. It’s impossible to know now how many students are being pushed into alternative education or into the juvenile justice system due to excessive use of zero tolerance policies.

We need this data to answer pressing questions and bring transparency to the process. This legislation is in no way intended to weaken discipline in schools, but inject some common sense into the process so that the appropriate degree and type of discipline may be applied to students for their overall benefit.

Developing effective disciplinary policies will require the collaboration of all stakeholders. Throughout the process of drafting this legislation, I have vetted the bills with education associations, judges and parents.

Along with teacher groups, I have the support of the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice; the Georgia School Superintendents Association; Steven Teske, immediate past president of the Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges, and the Georgia State Conference NAACP. I look forward to working all stakeholders throughout the legislative process to perfect these bills.

We can’t continue to allow schools to prioritize punishment over education. Such a barrier to learning is a disservice to our children. This legislation will encourage more discretion at the school level to bring some common sense back to our children’s education.

State Sen. Emanuel Jones represents the 10th Senate District, which includes portions of DeKalb and Henry counties.

46 comments Add your comment

Jennifer

February 5th, 2010
3:30 pm

Finally, someone who is standing up for common sense. I take my hat off to Senator Jones for doing what few others would ever dare.

Gustavo

February 5th, 2010
3:32 pm

Why did the kid think that it was a wise decision to take the knife to school? Not to mention that this is 2010, the age of overweight kids addicted to sugar and indoors, why does the kid have a knife? Does he go wittling sticks or cleaning fish after he catches them after school?

catlady

February 5th, 2010
3:45 pm

Unfortunately, parents don’t recognize differences in situations. “MY kid had a good reason” etc. So that is how zero tolerance came to be.

James

February 5th, 2010
3:45 pm

I think the statistics quoted might be misleading: “The number of children suspended rose from 1.7 million in 1974 to 3.1 million in 2000.” – From 1974 to 2000 the US population rose from 213 million to 282 million and we probably had a massive influx of illegal aliens via the Mexican border. However; – I echo Jennifer’s sentiments – three cheers for common sense. Zero tolerance rules in school are almost universally stupid. I think that’s something we can all agree one. We should be rid of them.

catlady

February 5th, 2010
3:45 pm

It’s “unjust” when it is your kid.

gamom

February 5th, 2010
4:02 pm

Bravo Senator Jones -

Sharon

February 5th, 2010
4:26 pm

I support Senator Jones’ proposed legislation! It’s not only minorities who are disproportionately suspended, check out the data for students with disabilities (SWD). SWD generally account for 11% of the general student population . However, according to the Georgia Report Card, last year 52% of the students at GIVE East alternative school in Gwinnett, were students with disabilities.

Tony

February 5th, 2010
5:02 pm

The leading paragraph attempts to place blame for the zero tolerance policy about weapons squarely upon school administrators when in fact this zero tolerance policy comes straight from Georgia law. In fact, when the weapons law was first enacted, it was so strict that even knives in the school kitches were not exempt. To come not before the public and offer a scathing rebuke against schools is so typical of lawmakers it makes me want to puke. The weapons ban came from the lawmakers of Georgia. In the past, we had a bit of discretion to deal with pocket knives more appropriately.

There are some schools that do get a bit overzealous with zero-tolerance policies. I would welcome some relief.

BlackGirl

February 5th, 2010
5:11 pm

Zero tolerance policies have led to more school suspensions, which was the opposite goal of the policy. Students are suspended for minor infractions because schools don’t have a discipline plan in place. Detention is no longer utilized in many schools. Students are suspended instead, either in-school or out of school. This has resulted in an increase in crimes committed by students. The string of burglaries that have occured in my area were committed by teenagers that were suspended or dropped out. This information was provided by the local police department at an HOA meeting. The crimes are being committed in broad daylight. This also ties into the one track system we have in Georgia. So many poor decisions have been made in education that I wonder if this broken system can ever be repaired.

Lee

February 5th, 2010
5:11 pm

Zero tolerance = zero common sense. Hell, I’ve been preaching that sermon for years.

Kids, good kids, getting suspended for Tweety Bird keychains, for DRAWING a picture of a gun, for merely bringing a gun magazine to school. Eagle Scouts who get suspended for having a camp axe in their vehicle. Honor Roll students suspended for having Midol.

The list goes on and on.

And yet, other kids are viciously attacked, only to get suspended themselves when they ::gasp:: try to defend themselves from their assailants. The schools would rather classify it as a mere fight between two students rather than the more ominous Assault and Battery, which is what it really was.

The only thing I disagree with in this article was the “black students disproportionately expelled” politically correct bullcrap. Maybe the black students perpetuate more behavior that gets them suspended. Sorta like the Dept of Justice Crime Statistics that show blacks are disproportionately more likely to be the perpetrators of violent crime.

But hey, if Sen Jones can use that tact to get these hideous zero tolerance policies overturned, go for it.

Ole Guy

February 5th, 2010
6:09 pm

Once again we see kneejerk legislation at its best…yet another law mandating common sense.

No Child…was kneejerk in reaction to a nation of failing school systems, and the very real potential for a lost generation. Several weeks ago, when a coupla kids decided to see if they could walk on water, breaking through the ice and drowning, some legislative guru wanted to introduce yet more common sense mandates…NO WALKING ON ICE, it’s de law…NO DRINKING OF GASOLINE, it’ll give ya a tummy ache.

What the hell’s going on here? Have we become a Nation of nitwits, morons and idiots? What ever happened to Darwin’s Law? Seems like a good idea to me…let the weak and stupid remove themselves from life’s game of musical chairs.

I don’t care how good a student the kid is, I don’t care how good his intentions were in voluntarily returning the knife…he’s 15, for cryin out loud, he knows the rules. What, he forgot? BS! Did he forget to put his shoes on? Was he late because he forgot where the door to the school building is? This is what we’re talking about when we harp about accountability…either it is or it isn’t.

As with many events, the complete story is often missing. Was a 12 year old carted off to jail for simply doodling on a desk? I would imagine administrator actions like that would be screaming/begging for ACLU attention at least. At one extreme, we picture an angle-faced kid, repleat with ribbon-adorned hair and skinned knees commiting an “OPs”. On the other hand, this incident may have been the final straw in a series of unchecked misbehaviors. Somehow, the prudent reader just doesn’t buy the notion that an otherwise innocent 12 year old was carted off to the klink for doodling.

cricket

February 5th, 2010
9:06 pm

..what old guy said.

high school teacher

February 5th, 2010
10:02 pm

Zero tolerance exists for a reason. I feel for this kid who voluntarily turned in a knife; he could have realized that he had it in his backpack and just forgot about it and tried to make good. That’s where the common sense on the administration part comes in. However, imagine the following scenario: Kid A realizes he has a knife in his backpack, goes to admin to turn it in, and goes back to class unscathed. Kid A brags to friends that he had a knife at school and didn’t in trouble. Kid B overhears this and brings a knife the next day, only he gets caught showing it off to his classmates in first period. Kid B is suspended, but his mother is screaming, “But Kid A brought a knife to school yesterday and nothing happened to him!” Common sense is lacking everywhere, not just inside the walls of a school.

About the racially discriminating numbers: it’s only racial discrimination if white kids did the same thing as black kids but didn’t get the same punishment.

Preacher

February 5th, 2010
10:27 pm

Ole guy and others – read the last paragraph of Senator Jones’ article. This is not knee-jerk legislation and it is not encouraging a lack of accountability as you suggest. You obviously didn’t follow the link to read the story about the 12 year old student taken from her school in handcuffs, yes, for doodling on the desk. Another link on the same page talks about a 4th grader sent to the principal’s office and forced to sign a document relating to bringing guns to school because he had a two-inch Lego toy gun in his lunch box.

Children make mistakes. Children break rules, sometimes intentionally and should always be held accountable for their actions. That is an invaluable part of the life lessons we should all be teaching our children. The lesson of accountability for petty infractions should not, however, come at the price of the child’s self esteem or future academic progress which is the result of the heavy handed application of disciplinary codes. An important piece of this potential legislation is accountability for thet alternative schools so that when children do commit offenses that warrant their removal from the main stream setting, they are not set on a path that significantly reduces their ability to learn the lesson and move on productively.

Educators, parents and students alike need reasonable and realistic solutions to the many problems faciing our public schools. This legislation would be one step in the right direction

dbow

February 5th, 2010
10:29 pm

Zero tolerance was created to show that schools were tough on crime, but what it turned into was a farce. What;s worse than zero tolerance policies is the FACT that a special education child who commits acts of violence is allowed back into school while a non special ed kid committing the same crime is suspended for however many days. Don’t give me that bull about manifestation of his disability either because we all know that’s a load of garbage. Administrators don’t want to catch flack from the feds and in turn get sued by the useless parents, so they let these little monsters run crazy all the while endangering the lives of everyone around them. These spineless admins turn a blind eye and hope that crazy little Johnny just stays home or moves away. In the mean time the other kids fear for their lives and the teachers that have to deal with these little monsters wonder if they’ll get to go home that day without getting attacked. How about zero tolerance for ALL students. It’ll never happen because the special ed kids know they can literally get away with murder. If you don’t believe me step into a real school someday.

sad but true....

February 5th, 2010
11:42 pm

dbow…you are right; it takes a lot for SWDs to get suspended. I teach special ed and I see the problems with how we manage discipline for our kids. Our school has gone to “positive” discipline which is like no discipline. The kids know they will be going back to the classroom with just a little talk. So, they return to the classroom and hold the other students captive as they disrupt; the kids that want to learn find it difficult to focus because of the disruptive kids. This is not just SWDs….this is all kids, but the state pays attention if SWDs and black students are going to time out or being suspended. I love teaching special ed, but sometimes there are students who need help outside of the school system, but parents don’t want to see it. Instead, they expect the school to manage their child when they can’t even do it.

Ole Guy

February 6th, 2010
12:35 am

Preacher, I appreciate what you’re saying here…yes indeed, I read the stories. The difference here is a matter of expectations of social responsibilities. At the ages of 10 to 12, I certainly wouldn’t expect complex decision making involving in-depth analysis of a myriad of fluid factors. HOWEVER, I do expect kids, at that age, to follow simple instructions which involve no analysis. The kid brought a toy gun, obviously feeling that his decision to do so, in light of the rule, was ok. Preacher, the kid’s got a hellova lot more pressing issues than esteem preservation to worry about. I don’t know from what generation you hail…unfortunately, somewhere along the line of time, it was determined that self esteem, like daily lunch, should be handed to the kid. Self esteem is earned through earnest effort. As opposed to the lunch which somebody else prepared, somebody else placed on the table, and somebody else handed the kid, the only effort which was required of the kid was to actually place fork in food and consume. Real esteem, as with being on the winning team on the gridiron, requires internal effort, both heart and soul. If that effort is not forthcoming, than the players on the team do not deserve to be winners. If the players, despite their winning efforts, are on the losing team, they, deep within themselves, know that, individually, they have the hearts of a winner. If that 10 to 12 year old insists on bucking the rule, and bringing that toy weapon to school, the kid has neither the heart of a winner, nor the discipline to even try, and DOES NOT DESERVE TO EVEN THINK OF SELF ESTEEM.

Free Market Educator

February 6th, 2010
1:22 am

I have zero tolerance for deficit spending public schools. Here is the senator’s chance to cover the looming $3 BILLION deficit for 2012. Cut all budgets from public schools until they are FULLY funded by property taxes alone. If all the frills must go, then so be it. Only then will they be compliant with the compulsory attendance law.
http://www.gbpi.org/documents/20090409FS.pdf

Al Tate

February 6th, 2010
6:53 am

Senator Jones is right. Zero Tolerance is a policy rooted in fear and politics and zero understanding. The policy has produced such nonsense as first graders being suspended from school on their birthday because Mom brought a birthday cake to school with a knife to cut it with, and a 4th grader sent home from school because his grandfather (a WWII vet) came to school (in support of his grandson’s education) on a show and tell with an old civil war gun. I remember a case where a senior honors student in the running for class valedictorian was suspended because an overzealous security guard walking through the school parking lot saw a knife handle on the floorboard under seat in the student’s locked car. The principal called the student out of class and required him to open the car door. He had been on a weekend fishing trip. That one “transgression”- if that is what it was-destroyed four years of hard academic work. Our children deserve better treatment than that. Zero tolerance if always taken literally would mean that science teachers could not use scapels to open plant and animal tissues for study in biology classes or use pruning shears to work in a school garden. Zero tolerance is a policy for prisons to help control prisoners. In our schools zero tolerance is a policy that clearly shows our children that we have no trust or faith in them, that school discipline is more important that learning, and that society is afraid of them. There is no more important function in society than to educate our children. They are the most precious asset that we have and our future depends on them. We should be very thoughtful and reasoned in how we treat them.

oldspartan

February 6th, 2010
7:08 am

whats funny is at a different time in America some of us actually wore our knives on our belts to school and nothing was ever said. i know it can never go back, but as i said several weeks ago, some teachers/principals are not in the real world. not trying to offend anyone just trying to get some to think. if you feel like you must defend yourself; glad its all about you and not the student

Pure Laziness

February 6th, 2010
7:29 am

The prime reason for such policies is that the educators do not wish to do anything but enforce rules, no matter how stupid the result. The best example is the Zero tolerance for fighting in schools because when a kid is being beaten and decides to fight back, he gets suspended for the same period of time that his attacker gets because the teachers and administrators are just too lazy to determine who the aggressor in such situations is. Years ago, I saw this in a school system in a county where I was a juvenile judge. The Courtroom was full of high school students who were charged with fighting and I asked the administrator who was there to prosecute the kids what had happened and all he could say was that there was a fight that escalated when 3 boys jumped on a lone kid and the lone kid’s friends got involved trying to help the lone kid in the 3 on 1 beating. I asked the administrator about the kid defending himself and was told that it did not matter and that that kid was also suspended. I loudly announced that the rule being followed by the school system was the most idiotic I had ever seen because there was no difference between aggressor and victim. When he also said that all the kids had been suspended in addition to having the juvenile charges brought against them, I became so angry that I dismissed all the charges because all the kids had already been suspended and I ordered the administrator never to bring any fight cases to my court without determining who the aggressor was and that if they had already been suspended the cases would be dismissed. Because of my statements about the stupidity of the school system there was a new judge appointed within 30 days because the school “leaders” didn’t like be described as stupid and idiotic by someone that they had to listen to (even if it was just for that day).
ZERO TOLERANCE EQUALS ZERO BRAIN.

john konop

February 6th, 2010
8:24 am

Pure Laziness,

I disagree, I think politicians used concepts like Zero tolerance, 3 strikes and you are out…..to get elected by pandering to the publics fear over rational policy. The truth probably over 90% of the time in the past the judgment call was right from teachers, lawmakers……yet the 10% of bad calls was used to manipulate voters.

And now by forcing no judgment into the system the result is an increase in bad calls. And by taking the judgment out no one really takes accountability it is just the rule or the law.

What I find most disturbing how as a society we are criminalizing more and more issues that should be solved by parents, teachers…… I am not making excuses for the behavior, but clogging the legal system up with this is a perversion or priorities and serves no one. And finally I am sure, I am not the only who made mistakes of judgment especially as a kid!

LizzieTish

February 6th, 2010
8:53 am

We have become a nation of politcally correct idiots. Good thing most schools don’t allow kids to come dressed in costume on Halloween. Annie Oakley or Gene Autry would get their butts suspended.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

February 6th, 2010
8:53 am

Tony, I appreciate your history of the laws. They came into existence after a number of instances of kids bringing guns to school also, correct? If only we had lawmakers who could craft laws that would not impinge on constitutional rights while holding parents accountable.
Senator Jones is grandstanding: you cannot legislate “common sense.”

Ollie K. Mears

February 6th, 2010
9:05 am

I strongly support the elimination of undue school suspensions because they are counterproductive to the established mission of schools everywhere. School suspensions and expulsions are indeed the key reasons increased number of students eventually are either failed for excessive absences or they simply give up and dropout because they are so far behind in classes. Bravo to Senator Emanuel Jones exposing the so-called “zero tolerance” school policies and for taking the stance on resolving this issue as an advocate for students rights by submitting relevant legislation to protect students in the Georgia school system.

Ollie K. Mears
Owner of Mears Management
http://www.mearsmanagement.com/SchoolSuspensions.html

Maureen Downey

February 6th, 2010
9:35 am

high school teacher, You made a very good point. And I could see that very scenario. Maureen

Ole Guy

February 6th, 2010
11:30 am

The year was…well, Dina Shore was singing the Chevy song…if that means something, fine, if not, it probably don’t matter! The fight, over who the hell knows what, started between Tim and me. After a few kids joined in, and a few cuts, bruises and welts, a teacher broke up the melee and packed all to the principals office whereupon, one by one…no questions, no explanations…we were paddled to the point of ars combustion and sent back to our respective classes…end of story. PS: to this day, 40-odd years later, Tim and I are best of buds.

Ruth Tate

February 6th, 2010
11:31 am

I support Senator Jones and thank him for moving forward with this legislation. Zero tolerance leaves no room for intent. It’s a policy that speaks to the lack of faith the system has to govern itself and make prudent, rational decisions. This is SO long overdue.

V for Vendetta

February 6th, 2010
2:21 pm

So now we’re letting the government make policies against our policies. We need laws to help us better uphold laws.

Wake up, people. Wake up.

Lee

February 6th, 2010
3:00 pm

Zero tolerance policies are a classic example of politicians overreacting to an issue and weak school administrators hiding behind the laws as though they were a Roman Gladiator shield.

Weak men like a lot of rules. Why? Because they do not have to make a decision. Two students get into a fight. You don’t try to find out if one were the aggressor and one was the victim and merely trying to defend himself. You just call the police and let them handle it. Nevermind that Ga law specifically provides for self defense of one’s person and also prohibits any government entity from prohibitiing one’s use of self defense.

Take a penknife to school and get arrested. Nevermind that anything can be used as a weapon – especially a pointed stick about six inches long (google “stabbed with pencil”)

Which also points out the insanity of airport security confiscating my fingernail clippers but allowing me through with an ink pen with a stainless steel barrel. Go figure.

While I applaud Sen Jones intent, what really needs to happen is to overturn the laws that spawned these hideous zero tolerance policies.

high school teacher

February 6th, 2010
3:37 pm

Thank you, Maureen.

I can’t speak for elementary or middle school, but I can speak for high school. It’s not the same place where we went to school. Zero tolerance is a necessary evil so that we can help to ensure the safety of your own children.

Ollie Mears, suspensions are not counted as absences against the student. In fact, teachers are required to allow students to make up all work. Suspensions are more like a paid vacation.

Enlightened

February 6th, 2010
4:23 pm

@Preacher – Amen.

@high school teacher – in Gwinnett, it is at a teacher’s discretion if a student is allowed to make up missed work while suspended.

@Everyone – has anyone stopped to think about what zero-tolerance costs us financially and as a society?

catlady

February 6th, 2010
7:12 pm

“Intent” is in the eye of the parent. No parent will say “yeah, he brought that knife to school in order to hurt someone”. Get real. That’s why we have zero tolerance rules–because every case is “exceptional” and everyone’s child has a “reason” for breaking the rule.

high school teacher

February 6th, 2010
7:46 pm

Enlightened, it is my understanding that the suspension/make-up rule is a state law. I’d say to go to the DOE website to check, but it is the most user-unfriendly website I have ever encountered. The search bar is useless! I will investigate…

ScienceTeacher671

February 6th, 2010
9:42 pm

In the districts in my area, students are not allowed to make up their work if they are suspended.

I’m rather interested in this story about the pregnant teacher who was injured trying to break up a fight.

Sharon

February 6th, 2010
10:51 pm

Ask Gwinnett administrators why the suspensions (both in and out of school) for students with disabilities tripled last year over the prior school year in their Discipline Report for 2008-2009. SWD, and lower performing students in general, are more likely to be sent to alternative schools because their test scores are no longer included in their home schools affecting AYP.

Everyone wants children to have appropriate behavior in school and at home. However, there is no research that supports suspensions (or alternative schools) for improving behavior or academic success. Show me the data.

V for Vendetta

February 6th, 2010
11:12 pm

Sharon,

I would love to know what you’re definition of disability is in this case? You’re painting a picture of kids with mental disabilities being unfairly targeted by teachers and administrators, but I’d be willing to bet these “students with disabilities” are EBD or low functioning autistic. I teach more than a few students with Asperger’s in an integrated co-taught setting. I would no more suspend them than the man in the moon; however, I would write up a kid with EBD in two seconds.

Stop your shameless bellyaching. SPED students are no different than normal students: some are good, and some are punks. The fact that some of them can’t help it is largely irrelevant, and those who can’t help it should not be in a traditional educational setting to begin with.

high school teacher

February 6th, 2010
11:13 pm

Sharon, in our district students in alt school still count towards their home school test scores.

Maureen, sounds like a new topic – talk about local control – here are two huge discrepancies among counties – whether or not kids can make up work while suspended, and whether or not alt school test scores count with the home school. BTW, I hope that I spelled discrepancies right; I don’t have a dictionary handy and I am too lazy to open another page in Internet Explorer…

rosie

February 7th, 2010
6:46 am

All rules are meant to be broken if it impacts the graduation rate. Doing away with zero tolerance would give administrators another way to get around rules and keep kids in school so they could count as graduates. High school teacher is right about the scenerio w/Kid A and Kid B. Students in my system are allowed to make up work once they return from suspension. Why not give them a failing grade on every assignment given during the suspension and make them work their behinds off getting those averages back up? This would not work cause the kid would give up and drop out. This in turn would make our graduation rate go down. My system also allows kids to abuse the attendance policy and make up days. Don’t even ask what they do to make up the days. What is the point of an attendance policy? I could go on and on and on…..

rosie

February 7th, 2010
7:14 am

High school teacher is correct about the situation with Kid A and Kid B. My system allows students to make up work following a suspension. The student is given a certain # of days to get the work to the teacher, but this rule is very flexible. Why? If a student is given zeros or has to adhere to rules he/she is more likely to give up and drop out of high school. Any rule will be broken if it impacts the graduation rate. Attendance policies are also useless because kids can make up endless amounts of days missed or just have the days waived. Don’t even ask what they do to make up the missed days. It is a complete JOKE. Graduation rate controls everything.

Mid Ga Retiree

February 7th, 2010
8:40 am

I don’t think the people who passed the Zero-Tolerance law envisioned the results that we see today. Some school administrators appear to hide behind this law because then they can pass the buck when it comes time to decide on punishment for school infractions. School boards hide behind it because supporting “zero-tolerance” makes for good sound bites on the local news. I would love to see common sense return to our schools. The problem is finding administrators and school board members that both possess common sense and are willing to use it.

Ole Guy

February 7th, 2010
2:37 pm

Good points, Mid Ga. In our leaders’ quests to appear tough on this and tough on that, and not be viewed as soft on the issues, they come up with these totalitarian approaches which are nothing more than your garden variety knee jerk half-thought reactions which have become so prevelant within the ranks of leadership.

patty

February 14th, 2010
6:29 pm

This comment is for the man that asked why the boy had the knife at school… He had the knife at school because in a hurry his mother grabbed his bookbag that he took with him fishing a few days earlier… It was a mistake. A mistake that has caused him a lot of stress and emotional problems. He did the right thing by turning it in and was severely punished.

patty

February 14th, 2010
6:42 pm

As for Ole Man… He is 14 not 15 and it was a honest mistake. If it wasn’t do you think he would have turned in the knife.. Use common sense here. Someone wanting to cause harm would not turn the knife in. But I guess you have never made a mistake

Curt Johnson

February 19th, 2010
4:33 pm

Yet another case-
My Grandson (not a stellar student) but did graduate from High Shcool.
During his school days he also grabbed one of his Fathers coats to wear to school which also had a pocket knife in an inner pocket. Doing the right thing, he turned it in, was suspended and put on probation.
Fast forward 1.5 years and same Grandson attempts to join the military as we are a four generation military family. On the application he indicates that he was put on probation for what was labeled ont his records as a “Terroristic Act” by some numbskull in either this judicial or school system. I never found out who. This raised a Red Flag and he was not allowed to enter the Army nor the Marines.
My Son a full time Training NCO for the Army National Guard sees individuals with far worse records than our Grandsons who are proudly serving America.
Finally he found a recruiter with some backbone and noxy and is now scheduled for basic training in the near future. Two years later.

How did we jump from “Found and Knife in My Pocket ” to “Terroristic Act” .
Zero Tolerance with no Common Sense – that is how!
Thank You!

[...] General Assembly did pass state Sen. Emanuel Jones’ bill on  zero tolerance that we’ve discussed here several [...]