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Thread: Zero-Tolerance Maddness in Schools

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    Zero-Tolerance Maddness in Schools

    Here are a few articles I found earlier today:

    A high school student in Louisiana has been expelled from her school for one year because she had Advil pills in her purse.

    Sophomore Amanda Stiles was expelled from Parkway High School in Shreveport, La., after a teacher searched her purse because she was suspected of being among a group of students smoking cigarettes on school grounds, the Shreveport Times reported.

    "I think a one-year expulsion for an over-the-counter medicine is pretty severe," Stiles' mother, Kelly Herpin, told the paper.

    Herpin and Stiles appealed to a school board committee last night, but the panel and the full board voted unanimously to uphold the one-year expulsion.

    "I'm not really sure at this point what we'll do," Herpin told the Times. "I'm going to have to talk to my husband, and we're going to have to make some plans. I'm not sure we could afford a private school. We've been looking at moving to another area."

    Stiles said she carried the over-the-counter medicine because of frequent headaches, but the Bossier Parish School District maintains it is following a state law barring drugs on campus and its own "zero-tolerance" policy.

    "I just never thought about the fact that I could be searched," Stiles said, according to the Shreveport paper. "I think we're old enough to know how many [pills] we can take without overdosing or being in danger."

    After the appeals hearing, Superintendent Ken Kruithof said state law mandates a one-year suspension for drugs, but he did not know whether it covered nonprescription drugs as well. Betty McCauley, Bossier schools student services director, said the law includes nonprescription drugs, but she said having medication on campus doesn't automatically lead to a one-year expulsion.

    "After an investigation and a hearing then, if necessary, punishment is administered. It could be no punishment," she said.

    If Stiles wants to pursue the case further, she must sue the school district. The Times said, so far this school year, officials report 18 students were sent to the system's alternative school for possessing "pills."

    Herpin said she considers her daughter an "average" student in terms of grade and behavior and had never been expelled, according to the paper. Superintendent Kruithof said Stiles had other disciplinary incidents but did not know if they were serious enough to warrant suspension.
    9-year-old called drug dealer over cough drops

    A Florida elementary school accused a 9-year-old student of selling drugs for sharing cough drops with friends.

    Officials at Patterson Elementary School in Clay County decided, however, not to discipline Khalin Rivenbark, who met with the girl and her father Wednesday.

    The accusation arose one day earlier when the child got into trouble after her father put some Halls Defense Vitamin C cough drops in her school bag when she was recovering from a cold, she told Jacksonville's WJXT-TV

    She later shared some with friends.

    "[A teacher] saw me with the cough drops out and I guess she saw me give it to one of my friends, and then like, 'Oh, I see this good business going on around you,'" Khalin told the station.

    "She said, 'You're selling drugs.' (I said) 'No, I'm not.'"

    The 9-year-old said one of her friends gave her $1 for the cough drop.

    Her father, Andy Rivenbark, told the station, "It's absolutely crazy."

    The student said the cough drops were in her bag, and two friends asked for one, so she handed them out. One friend insisted on paying.

    "She felt guilty taking the cough drop or whatever, so she gave me a dollar. I didn't want to accept it, but she had me take it," Khalin told the Jacksonville TV station.

    The student handbook for Clay County Schools says, "If a student must take a prescription or over-the-counter medication during school hours, it must be received and stored in the original container, and be labeled with the student's name, current date, prescription dosage, frequency of administration and physician's name."

    But WJXT reporter Diane Cho questioned whether the Halls cough drops qualify as a drug, since the ingredients were nearly the same as Lifesavers candy.

    Andy Rivenbark said he didn't get a note or call from school administrators about the incident.

    "It's definitely detrimental to somebody who we teach the whole time growing up, 'don't use drugs because drugs are bad.' To accuse her, it's unnecessary to make a comment like that," Rivenbark said.

    The report said the meeting included an admonition from school officials for the child not to bring cough drops again.

    WND reported several years ago on a case in which a student was expelled for a year for having Advil in her purse.

    The case involved sophomore Amanda Stiles, who was expelled from Parkway High School in Shreveport, La., after a teacher searched her purse because she was suspected of being among a group of students smoking cigarettes on school grounds, the Shreveport Times reported.

    The punishment was affirmed by the school board.

    Stiles said she carried the over-the-counter medicine because of frequent headaches, but the Bossier Parish School District maintains it followed a state law barring drugs on campus and its own "zero-tolerance" policy.

    "I just never thought about the fact that I could be searched," Stiles said, according to the Shreveport paper. "I think we're old enough to know how many [pills] we can take without overdosing or being in danger."
    Student disciplined for pen with gun company logo

    Read more: Student disciplined for <i>pen</i> with gun company logo
    A 13-year-old boy has been suspended for three days by an Arizona public school because he sketched a picture that resembled a gun, something school officials said they "absolutely" believed could pose a threat.

    Read more: Youth suspended over <I>sketch</i> of gun
    Families across the U.S. are becoming increasingly frustrated with "zero-tolerance" policies in the nation's public schools.

    Case in point: Parents in Sayreville, N.J., are venting their anger by suing school officials over the suspension of their son for playing "cops and robbers" on the playground during recess.

    Known only as A.G., the 5-year-old kindergartner made news after he and three of his friends were suspended March 15 for three days. The boys were guilty of using their fingers as guns and shouting words like "bang" while running around in the school yard.

    According to the complaint, A.G. yelled, "I have a bazooka and I'm going to shoot you."

    The words were reported to the teacher by a student who stood nearby. Based on the report, A.G. and the three other students were removed from their classroom and taken to the school office where they were questioned about their conduct. Without notice to A.G.'s parents, he and his friends were suspended and sent home.

    "Kids are going to be kids, and boys, especially, are going to play 'cops and robbers,'" said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute -- a nonprofit civil liberties organization representing A.G.'s parents, Scot and Cassandra Garrick.

    President of the Rutherford Institute John Whitehead believes zero-tolerance policies punish good kids.

    "They can't isolate the schools and make them into little monasteries," Whitehead continued. "Schools make a fundamental mistake when they fail to distinguish between appropriate discipline and punishment."

    Many parents and education observers believe schools have gone too far in attempting to enforce so-called "zero-tolerance" policies.

    While A.G.'s school district claims not to have an official, written zero-tolerance policy regarding violent behavior or threats, school officials' actions are consistent with those of many other districts with such policies.

    Thirteen-year-old T.J. West was suspended for violating Kansas' Derby Unified School District's zero-tolerance policy against racial harassment and intimidation when he drew a replica of the confederate flag on a scrap of paper. The flag was listed as a prohibited symbol of racial hatred.

    According to the Rutherford Institute, which represented West in a lawsuit against the school district, the teen-ager had no racial motivation for drawing the flag and did not show his work to anyone who was offended.

    Following a trial, the court ruled that West's First Amendment rights were not abridged by the school's policy. The decision was affirmed by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colo., and the Institute says it will appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Another example of the policies' effects can be found in Florida where high school sophomore Tawana Dawson was suspended for possession of a nail clipper.

    Dawson, a student with a good academic record and no disciplinary problems, had lent the clipper to a friend who used the two-inch file attachment to clean underneath her nails. A school officer deemed the attachment to be a "knife blade."

    The girl's suspension was unanimously overturned by the Escambia County School Board. She was only allowed to return to school, however, on "strict probation," whereby she would automatically be expelled for further discipline problems.

    After a meeting with Dawson's attorney, the board eventually agreed not to treat the girl any more harshly for minor offenses than it treats other students.

    In yet another New Jersey case, a 9-year-old student was suspended from school for a day and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after mentioning to a friend his intent to "shoot" a classmate with a wad of paper.

    Fourth-grader Michael Hagood planned to launch spitballs at the girl using a rubber band.

    Parents of a student at Upper Elementary School contacted the school district after hearing about the plan. District officials then notified local police and suspended Hagood under the school's zero-tolerance policy. The boy was required to complete a psychological evaluation before returning to class.

    Local police went to the Hagood home after midnight and questioned Michael about the "shooting" incident.

    "This whole zero-tolerance mentality is totally out of control," Whitehead told WorldNetDaily. "Schools should be more flexible and shouldn't treat children like they're robots."

    The sweeping policies do not prevent "the real kids that are causing the problem" from wreaking havoc in schools, he added. "Innocent children are getting punished. At a certain point, it stops making sense."

    Whitehead believes there are better ways for the schools to deal with suspicious activity.

    "They should have handled it with the parents," he said, referring to the Garrick case. "There has to be another way other than suspension or expulsion."

    "More parents who get involved in these situations are taking their kids out of public schools and putting them in private schools," he added.

    In a written statement, Scot Garrick expressed his frustration with the way his son's case was handled: "It's upsetting to think about the way my son was treated by the school simply for playing, and it has had a big effect on him. He's censoring his playtime and his imagination. It's sad to see a 6-year-old censoring himself like that."

    According to Whitehead, A.G. used to love going to school, but has lost much of his enthusiasm since the suspension.

    An attorney affiliated with the Rutherford Institute filed a suit on behalf of the Garricks in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey last Thursday. The complaint names the Sayreville Board of Education, Superintendent William Bauer and Wilson School Principal Georgia Baumann as defendants.

    The Garricks claim their son's First, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated as a result of the suspension and that the action resulted in the violation of a New Jersey law entitling him to a free and thorough public education. They are asking officials to expunge the boy's school record, removing mention of the suspension, and they also seek compensatory and punitive damages.

    WorldNetDaily contacted Wilson Elementary School and was told officials have no comment on the matter. Repeated calls to the Sayreville School District's superintendent's office were not returned.

    However, during an April 11 school board meeting, Board President Kevin Ciak said, "The district would not take the disciplinary actions it did with kindergarten students that were simply playing 'cops and robbers.' This was a much more serious matter."

    He refused to elaborate at the time, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

    Read more: Zero-tolerance policies victimize 'good' kids

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    This is a collection of absolute idiocy!

    Why is a child being suspended for pointing his finger and shouting bang? I remember playing "Soldier" with my friends as children, we'd all get sticks and march and have "battles" with one side falling over and pretending to die when "shot". Those were fun days, back when someone could pretend, without being called a terrorist.

    I believe we should encourage aggression in children, not "destruction", but aggresiveness. Young men should be educated in the military arts in high school, being run through drills, not only for the military aspect, but as a way to build comradeship and promote a team based atmosphere. You're a lot more likely to respect the guy who carried you on his back when you couldn't walk anymore. I believe this would lower bullying, Liberalism, and obesity.

    Young women should be included in this as well, although in a seperate program then then men, as I believe women are equal, but different. But certainly, it would make sense to train women in a variety of important military proffesions as well, such as medical, engineering, and such.

    A competative, but team based atmosphere is far better then the current "Must get all A's in all Honors classes for all of high school, and do all extracurriculers, and play three instruments" sort of attitude.
    Ein Kampf, Ein Sieg! Fur Prussia!

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    I suspect these more insane policies are radical attempts to address the falling standards of US children. Without acknowledging the real cause of America's decline.

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    Don't forget about this one, mate.

    Expelled for Possession of a Butter Knife

    A South Carolina high school freshman has been expelled from school for possession of a butter knife.

    Amber Dauge was by all accounts a good student at Goose Creek High School. She had joined the Junior ROTC program and was a member of the school's chorus. But she says officials have overreacted to an honest mistake.

    "She was at home making toast and she looked up, saw the clock, and said, "Oh I'm going to be late," her stepfather, Steven Heinz, explained to ABC News' Law & Justice Unit.

    Heinz said Amber opened her locker a week later, and the butter knife fell out. A fellow student made a wisecrack about the knife that was overheard by a teacher, who reported it to school officials, according to Heinz.

    Amber was immediately suspended for five days, pending an expulsion hearing that officials say was mandatory under by the school's "zero tolerance" policy toward weapons or potential weapons.

    "To a certain extent, we were understanding when they called us down and said 'We have to put her on this five-day suspension,'" Heinz said. "At first I thought it was just a scare tactic. 'They want to make an impression' is what I was thinking."

    Amber "went into the other room and started crying" when the school contacted her parents to notify them of the suspension and impending expulsion hearing, her stepfather said.

    Amber's parents assumed that once they explained the situation at the hearing, the matter would be resolved and Amber reinstated as a student, and she would not be expelled, Heinz said.

    But "three hours after the hearing, we received a phone call from an assistant principal saying that Amber had been expelled."

    Then, the next morning, "we received a letter in the mail, postmarked the 18th [of October] saying that Amber had been expelled," Heinz said. "Now I guess it's possible that someone rushed down to the post office [after the hearing] and got the letter postmarked that same day, but I kind of have the feeling this was a foregone conclusion, that that letter was written before we even walked into the expulsion hearing."

    Pam Bailey, spokeswoman for the Berkeley County schools, said that officials had followed proper protocol and that a county hearing officer had affirmed the school's expulsion recommendation for Amber.

    "It's not what we would consider to be a traditional butter knife," Bailey told ABC News. "Even though it's blunt on the end, it does have a serrated edge."

    A few other ones.

    Ionia kindergartner suspended for making gun with hand

    IONIA -- To the little boy's mother, it was just a 6-year-old boy playing around.

    But when Mason Jammer, a kindergarten student at Jefferson Elementary in Ionia, curled his fist into the shape of a gun Wednesday and pointed it at another student, school officials said it was no laughing matter.

    They suspended Mason until Friday, saying the behavior made other students uncomfortable, said Erin Jammer, Mason's mother.

    School officials allege Mason had displayed this kind of behavior for several months, despite numerous warnings.

    "I do think it's too harsh for a six-year-old," said Jammer, who was previously warned that if Mason continued the practice he would be suspended. "He's six and he just likes to play."

    Jammer says her son isn't violent, and there are other, more effective ways of teaching him not to make a gun with his hand.

    "Maybe what you could do is take his recess away," suggested Jammer, adding her son doesn't have toy guns at home.

    "He's only six and he doesn't understand any of this."

    NEWARK, Del. — Finding character witnesses when you are 6 years old is not easy. But there was Zachary Christie last week at a school disciplinary committee hearing with his karate instructor and his mother’s fiancé by his side to vouch for him.

    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.

    Spurred in part by the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings, many school districts around the country adopted zero-tolerance policies on the possession of weapons on school grounds. More recently, there has been growing debate over whether the policies have gone too far.

    But, based on the code of conduct for the Christina School District, where Zachary is a first grader, school officials had no choice. They had to suspend him because, “regardless of possessor’s intent,” knives are banned.

    “Zachary wears a suit and tie some days to school by his own choice because he takes school so seriously,” said Debbie Christie, Zachary’s mother, who started a Web site,, in hopes of recruiting supporters to pressure the local school board at its next open meeting on Tuesday. “He is not some sort of threat to his classmates.”

    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.

    For Zachary, it is not school violence that has left him reluctant to return to classes.

    “I just think the other kids may tease me for being in trouble,” he said, pausing before adding, “but I think the rules are what is wrong, not me.”
    The law was introduced after a third-grade girl was expelled for a year because her grandmother had sent a birthday cake to school, along with a knife to cut it. The teacher called the principal — but not before using the knife to cut and serve the cake.
    Education experts say that zero-tolerance policies initially allowed authorities more leeway in punishing students, but were applied in a discriminatory fashion. Many studies indicate that blacks were several times more likely to be suspended or expelled than other students for the same offenses.

    “The result of those studies is that more school districts have removed discretion in applying the disciplinary policies to avoid criticism of being biased,” said Ronnie Casella, an associate professor of education at Central Connecticut State University who has written about school violence. He added that there is no evidence that zero-tolerance policies make schools safer.
    Yes, they really use this as an argument against zero-tolerance.

    In Baltimore, around 10,000 students, about 12 percent of the city’s enrollment, were suspended during the 2006-7 school year, mostly for disruption and insubordination, according to a report by the Open Society Institute-Baltimore. School officials there are rewriting the disciplinary code, to route students to counseling rather than suspension.

    In Milwaukee, where school officials reported that 40 percent of ninth graders had been suspended at least once in the 2006-7 school year, the superintendent has encouraged teachers not to overreact to student misconduct.

    “Something has to change,” said Dodi Herbert, whose 13-year old son, Kyle, was suspended in May and ordered to attend the Christina district’s reform school for 45 days after another student dropped a pocket knife in his lap. School officials declined to comment on the case for reasons of privacy.

    Ms. Herbert, who said her son was a straight-A student, has since been home-schooling him instead of sending him to the reform school.
    Above three quotes are from the NY Times article.

    Also, Texas police are giving tickets to 6-year-olds, 250,000 children have been accused of "racism" in the UK, and an 8-year-old was suspended for drawing Jesus on the cross.

    Is this real life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gall Óglach View Post
    I suspect these more insane policies are radical attempts to address the falling standards of US children. Without acknowledging the real cause of America's decline.
    I think they're just to take our mind off of our falling standards.

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