Why The Zero Tolerance Policy Stinks!! #

I believe it was 1994 when it was decided that there should be a Zero Tolerance for Guns in schools, this spilled over to anything having to do with what is “interpreted” by  school administrators (GOV’T.) as unacceptable, ie. drugs ( Tylenol, acne medication pills, etc.), alcohol,  knives and Guns.

Now I understand the original interpretation of the law, the original thought behind it, was trying to stop maniacal kids with suicidal and murderous rampages on their minds but like everything in America we’ve bastardized the concept and gone overboard so that if a child accidently forgets a steak knife in their backpack from a family camping trip on the weekend and are found with it on school grounds they are just about thrown to the ground and accused of dastardly murderous intent. Can’t we use our heads, as the adults, in these situations and have innocence perhaps reign before guilt? Isn’t that the premise of America?

We are so busy with the supposed “War On Drugs” that obviously isn’t working on the border between Mexico, Canada and America, but God forbid a kid brings a Tylenol to school for a headache and gets caught trying to take it. Come on America, really? Is that what we want? Total control by GOVERNMENT? A girl can’t bring Midol for herself if she has cramps, really? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a girl control her hormones herself, when she’s 17 and knows she’s a beatch without her OTC meds. Jeesss. They are legal, my god, some kids are 18 and seniors, yet they can’t take a Midol or an aspirin, really?! Is every case involving OTC (over-the-counter) medicine like aspirin or acne medicine rife for suspension? When the Zero Tolerance Policy was put into place, I don’t think it was to be taken to such an extreme, do you? It meant, guns, knives, illegal drugs and alcohol . . . can’t we leave anything well enough alone and use our intelligence and judgement on a case by case basis?

Another case to date of over-reaction was of a 7-yr. old drawing a stick picture of a gun where he was suspended. The list goes on and on. Just recently a 13 yr. old was suspended for drawing a gun. Come on people. Do you remember playing cops and robbers? If we want to really enforce this rule, then we’ll have to outlaw all water guns and play guns. One of the boys drawings, was supposedly of a water gun. Why can’t he draw a  legal “toy”? Does money talk, obviously for there are so many varieties of “play” guns for sale and ad naseum violent video games but does that stop the manufacturing of ? Hell NO!

As for alcohol, yes that I can understand, that is illegal, we do not need that near or on school grounds. But when did we decide that 21 was the magical age for maturity to drink when people can fight and die for our country at 18? That might need to be rethought. If my kid was going to war, I’d be damned if I wouldn’t want to be tempted to let them have a beer before they have to go off to risk their lives for their country, come on how ridiculous is that? Who’s deciding that, again our wonderful Government?

We’ve become a nation ready to point fingers, someone always has to be guilty of a terrible miscarriage of justice . . .why can’t it be an honest over-sight, a simple mistake, life happens, people aren’t perfect, but it’s not the end of the world and everything isn’t a serious breach of security. . . sometimes Mom or Dad actually forget something in the day to day rush of life, we can’t know what our children are doing 24/7, even if we are super-parents! If it wasn’t such a crazy mixed up world where everything had to be blamed on someone, we’d actually LAUGH at these things. The child was not going to USE the steak knife, come on…did a young child need to be suspended for this accidental infraction? Perhaps they could check the details of the situation? It was an innocent mistake. When did we forget that mistakes are made, every situation does NOT have to be made into a Federal case, there are innocent accidental mistakes with no ILL intent. . . does anyone remember them? I’m sure you’ve had a few yourself, I know I have.

I know we’ve had shootings, but they were usually older kids with a serious history of depression, there were signs, one of the kids even had dozens of guns in his room, Uh hello, maybe someone should have noticed THAT kid had problems?

Even the shooting in Tuscon, Arizona. . .there were many signs. Perhaps there something more should have been done? There were red flags all over the place. So, if we think this false sense of security is going to work, I think we’re only fooling ourselves. It hurts the innocent more than the guilty, and the guilty then can’t be touched or prosecuted because of their “civil rights”.

There was the case of the kid who was going to join the army and had his “kit” in his car, someone saw it and called school security. When they went out to his car and checked, there was a knife in it and he was suspended. Really?! He left it IN his car. He had gone on a weekend retreat or something, Again, I reiterate I think this ZERO tolerance might be taking things a little TOO far. Perhaps we need to listen to cases individually. We’ve still had school shootings since 1994, so obviously it hasn’t worked.

As for Airport security, do you feel any safer since the TSA took over? I sure don’t. I think it’s all smoke and mirrors. Now with these new security measures. . . I don’t know how I feel about them . . . I haven’t flown yet where I either have to be felt up or go through the new invasive x-ray machines. What I want to know is . . . do you, they, or anyone really think that is what is going to stop the terrorists? I DO NOT! If someone really wants to blow up a plane, they will, they will go around these ridiculous security measures and GET IT DONE! We aren’t allowed to use profiling which probably WOULD work. I’m sorry if that would hurt some people’s sensibilities, but commonsense, is commonsense! If a certain type of people are the ones who blow planes up, why wouldn’t you profile them? If you are innocent, then you go on with your life, but instead, to check every single person and slow down the whole process of flying doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it? Even checking and touching small children? Ludicrous. We have slowly given up our freedom in this country willingly as a bunch of sheep to the slaughter for “security”. Bull!

I’ve had my own run-ins with security by accident of course. When I moved to Arizona, my sons and I were a little shocked, the whole move went a little faster than we thought, we weren’t quite prepared for the disruption in our lives. So as a preemptive strike, I changed the flight to a day earlier, unfortunately it was a one-way flight as we were moving and not coming back so we came under suspicion. My son had his backpack packed with all his things from school, including a standard 6-inch scissor. OMG. You would have thought we were on the Most-Wanted List. They just about threw my son to the floor when they hand checked the backpack and found the scissor… being unaware of this, having no idea what was taking place, I looked at them as they were looking at him, when I realized what the problem was I stated,” He’s 12, he just emptied his desk from school, My God, relax!”

At that time that alone worked, they confiscated the scissor, looked at us with stern glances, warned us not to ever do it again, and we were on our way!

I am a habitual offender it seems, though. Another time when we were flying home from NJ from a visit to the old neighborhood, I was on an antique buying trip, which included a very intricate antique letter opener, that looks like a dagger. When packing it, I forgot to put it in my suitcase, instead I used it like a bookmark, and tucked it into my sons backpack again. Don’t ask?! I don’t know what it is with me and backpacks …thankfully we got through security unscathed this time. I remembered the night we got home as we were sleeping, awakening uncomfortably remembering the faux pas, ran down to check where it was, found it in the backpack, and couldn’t believe we MADE it through security. So were we lucky, yes? But what if it wasn’t us who were innocents, what if it had been people with bad intent? They could have done much damage with this dagger…taken the plane hostage, maybe? Hmmm?! So, no the TSA is NOT working, shoes off and all. How ridiculous?!

So instead of crazy across the board security FOR ALL, why not use common sense, having security do a case by case EYES open DEALEO, and we live more normal lives. And YES, we should do PROFILING that makes sense, no worrying about people’s feelings and sensibilities, TOO bad! More peoples sensibilities are being stomped on NOW, and we’re not helping ANYBODY and we’re NOT stopping anybody BAD by being so invasive… face up to it people, BAD people DO NOT play by the rules, that is why they are BAD in the first place!

What do you think?

(C) Written by Evelyn Garone 6/2011

About Evie Garone

I am an outspoken woman with independent views of the world. I am spiritual but also realistic. I've successfully raised two men who I've sent off to college and am now following my love of the arts, including painting, drawing and writing. Thus, two blogs, two books I sporadically work on, voracious reading, among other loves keep me busy.
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2 Responses to Why The Zero Tolerance Policy Stinks!! #

  1. .Supporters of zero tolerance policies claim that such policies are required to create an appropriate environment Scaringi 2008 Noguera 1995 . They also point to examples of persons in authority providing lax discipline in the past with a resulting breakdown of order in the school Scaringi 2001 ..Some supporters also argue that the mass publicizing of examples of unfairness serves the schools purpose by frightening students into conformity instead of galvanizing them into resistance. Noguera 2007 .The policy assumption is that inflexibility is a deterrent because no matter how or why the rule was broken the fact that the rule was broken is the basis for the imposition of the penalty.


    • Evie Garone says:

      That’s all well and good in theory, I DO NOT agree, nothing in life is BLACK & WHITE there are always GRAY areas. . . thanks for the HEADS-UP …I read said case, …EVIE!!


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