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Once again, ladies and gentlemen, I have to drag the soapbox out.  I have seen another news story that has inspired me, in my rage-laden, bleeding ulcer manic state to climb back up into my virtual pulpit, and preach a litany to the internet, and those that care to read, all about the stupidity of our legal system, and growing stupidity of our educational system.

Go read this news article right here: Girl’s arrest for doodling raises concerns about zero tolerance – CNN.com

Okay, did you read it?  We are going to have a little review here.  What was her crime?  That’s right, she doodled on a desk.  Did she have a prior disciplinary record with the school?  No, no indeed, she did not.  What punishment was she facing?  Was it detention?  Was it a lecture?  Oh no, ladies and gentlemen, she got ARRESTED.  That’s right, the principal, instead of using this little thing in the human psyche we all call JUDGMENT, went ahead and called the police to come arrest a twelve year old girl, and lead her out of school IN HANDCUFFS, in front of her peers!

Now I want you to think of the absolute horrendous damage that has been inflicted on this girl for making the oh-so-very minor transgression of doodling on a desk top.  We clap her in irons, we lead her out of the school in front of her peers and friends and foes, and we sit her in a police station, as if she had committed a crime as the most pernicious transgressions our law can describe.  In short, we take an innocent 12 year old, and we treat her like she didn’t just doodle on a school desk, but like she assaulted another student with a knife.

And we call this “Zero Tolerance Policy.”

I call this “Lack of Judgment.”  Lack of judgment on the part of the principal, on the part of the police, and on the part of the policy makers.  It is a lack of judgment because it takes into account no degree of severity.  They, meaning the principal and police, sought to set the very minor crime of doodling on a desk (which in my day would have ended with me doing detention, most likely by cleaning other desks off, along with the janitor) on a level with assault.  They sought to suspend her from school, and they had her arrested.

This is sick.  This is intolerable.  We are treating the students who make mistakes like they are career criminals.  They aren’t.  What the hell ever happened to every child having a chance in our country?  The way things are going, between the particulars of the No Child Left Behind program, and the draconian Zero Tolerance Policy rules we impose, our children don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell if they make so much as a simple mistake.  We are damning our future.

Now I have said this before, and I say it again: we have to stop this extremist, unbalanced, all-or-nothing, and you-are-either-for-me-or-against me bullshit.  We have a wide, wide road to walk on, people, and for some stupid reason, we can only see the edges of it, not the great, welcoming, beautiful path between the edges.  This kind of behavior does not encourage our children to be good students, upstanding citizens, and positive role models.  What it does is encourage our students who may have less of a chance to give up.  Not to rehabilitate them, but to drive them further from accomplishment.

I am not saying that there is no room for strict, powerful policy in our schools.  I have a niece and a nephew who are in grade school and high school, and I do believe that weapons such as guns and hunting knives (you know the ones, Jim Bowie made them popular) have no place in school.  I believe that kids should be punished for their transgressions, but in a positive, constructive manner that encourages them to stay on the straight path, instead of just prove to them that the system is just out to bend them over the barrel.  And we have to temper our rules with judgment.

“No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding.”  This is Plato, a man who lived before the common era was a dream in a serf’s mind.  We have sacrificed understanding with these Zero Tolerance policies.  We no longer can be bothered to understand circumstances, or degree, or compassion.  She broke the rules?  Arrest her.

Well then arrest me.  Take me with her.  Because your case for the validity of arresting me for the libel that I (in some people’s eyes) am about to spout by saying the principal of that school is an intolerant, asinine, unintelligent, barely conscious piece of kowtowing absurdity is as applicable as saying this girl deserves what happened to her.  Arrest me.  I double damn dare you.

Because, unlike that poor girl, I know my rights.  And I know that you won’t do it, because I will be sure to make you pay for it.  It is high time authority be held accountable, people.  Let’s start doing it.

What do you think?

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5 Comments

  1. Is this the post-Columbine world we live in now? The cops don’t respond with a well-deserved “why are you bothering us with this crap?” They now have to respond to teenage angst; Holden Caulfield would be eating this up!

  2. YAY, for amarica home of ILLIGAL immigrants running free and and ZERO tollerance for the rest of us …

  3. couldn’t we just, i dunno, SHOOT HER DEAD WHERE SHE STANDS instead? it’d save a lot of money.

  4. This is one reason I and many other officers dislike things like “Zero Tolerance” and mandatory sentences for crimes. It takes the officers discrestion out of play. We have no choice on how we react in thhe situation. We can see the absurdity of it, but can’t do anything about it.

  5. Well, JD, given what you have revealed to me, let me issue, right here and now, an apology to any police officer who I may have offended, and whose hands are tied about things like this. It just serves to reinforce my point, though, that even those that wish to apply compassion and reason to the letter of the law are being hobbled by draconian policies like this.


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