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Stosh

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Are you sure about that?

 

I've read where kindergarten kids were expelled for forming their hand into the shape of a gun and were using it to play games during recess.  Heck, when I was that age, I walked around wearing a gun and holster all the time, it went well with the boots and cowboy hat.  All our money as kids went to buying caps for the cap guns.

 

Exactly my point @@Stosh. Parents want zero tolerance about weapons at school. In no one's mind should that cover a Kindergartener using his finger pistol at a teacher or other student. Should he be spoken too? Of course. Expelled? That was NEVER the intent of any sane, rational person.

 

I was an elected public school board member for 1 term.  Hated it.  I'll never do that again.

 

However, I did come away with some knowledge of how school boards work.  All students have the right to ask for a school board hearing to challenge a suspension.  Expulsion get an automatic review.

 

This is a common sense review.  The school board is free to act as they see right.

 

During my term, I sat on 40 expulsion hearings.  Most expulsions were obvious, clear-cut violations.  A handful had their punishments reduced.  Two were exonerated completely.

 

I considered the review authority of the school board to be one of its most important duties.  Yet, while I was running for office, not a single constituent asked me a question about it.

 

Let's not put this back on the student or constituent. The fault lies with how the policy was drafted. That's the lawyers and the school board or maybe the superintendent. They are the professionals who should know all the policies on the books.

 

It starts with the policy was drawn. It then moves to how the policy is applied. If it was drawn with a common sense review by the teacher, administrator, principle or district supervisor, how many of these cases would have made it to the school board for review? Remember, we are not talking about the obvious cases of infractions (e.g. the school drug dealer getting caught selling X in the bathroom). We are talking about the Eagle Scout with the pocket knife in his glove compartment left there by mistake.

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Krampus seems to place a great deal of importance on the fact that the infraction was committed by an Eagle Scout.

 

I once suspended an Eagle Scout for cheating on a unit exam in my Health class.  He was caught red-handed.  Guilty as sin.  It was also his second offense.  He had previously cheated on an English test.

 

He wasn't in our troop.  His dad was the Scoutmaster of a neighboring troop.  He was the senior patrol leader.

 

Should I have given this little cheat special consideration because he's an Eagle Scout?  No way!

Edited by David CO

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For these absolute people, they don't want to deal with any fall-out that might arise from negotiating any common and/or rational thought that might apply to unique situations. 

 

On the one hand we have an Eagle Scout with a pocket knife in the glove-box of his dad's car he drove because his had a flat that morning and the other hand we have the gang-banger with a gun his backpack.  Okay, we can deal rationally with those extremes.  But what about the kindergarten kid who uses the school supplied knife in a "stabbing" motion rather than a "slicing" motion?   But, alas, why would anyone need a knife in the first place to eat "Schuel Gruel"  in the first place.  Or what about the high schooler who uses his fingers to imitate a gun to threaten others... or merely scowls threateningly?  If one has zero-tolerance policies one doesn't need to deal with any of these issues.  Just make the problem go away by expelling the student.  End of discussion, problem solved.  The rather embarrassing part of the whole thing is when such ridiculous incidents arise, the zero-tolerance policy people are not the least bit embarrassed by their stupidity.  That in itself quite scary to say the least.   They are so entombed and blinded by their policy they are totally blinded to any rational thought or concepts.

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Krampus seems to place a great deal of importance on the fact that the infraction was committed by an Eagle Scout.

I was noting a fact of the incident. If the administrator who suspended him bothered to use an ounce of the brain God gave him, he'd realize that such a person (a Scout) would have a plausible reason for having such a tool in his car and might, just might, exercise some discretion in the situation. Frankly I don't care if it was an Eagle Scout or Joe Hunter, but the fact it was an Eagle Scout makes him less likely to use that tool for purposes other than for which it was intended. Cannot say the same for Joe Hunter.

 

I once suspended an Eagle Scout for cheating on a unit exam in my Health class.  He was caught red-handed.  Guilty as sin.  It was also his second offense.  He had previously cheated on an English test.

Good. Well done and rightly so. He's likely one of that 1% who does not honor the Oath and Law. Probably a paper Eagle. ;)

 

He wasn't in our troop.  His dad was the Scoutmaster of a neighboring troop.  He was the senior patrol leader.

Who knows what motivated him to do it. Regardless, inexcusable.

 

Should I have given this little cheat special consideration because he's an Eagle Scout?  No way!

Meh...your inability to understand one's point some times is frustrating. Just like in the other thread about the adults ignoring BSA policy for their own agenda, I will make it clear here:

 

We are talking about zero tolerance and how, if administrators and teachers and lawyers use their head, we can avoid them looking like complete prats by suspending and expelling kids who obviously made a minor mistake OR where the adult in authority is reading too much in to the situation.

 

We are NOT talking about OBVIOUS cases where kids, no matter who they are, break the spirit of the rules as they were INTENDED. We are NOT talking about allowing those who break the rules to morally justify breaking the rules ("I cheated because my dad beats me if I get bad grades").

 

Hope that clears up your confusion.

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Krampus seems to place a great deal of importance on the fact that the infraction was committed by an Eagle Scout.

 

I once suspended an Eagle Scout for cheating on a unit exam in my Health class.  He was caught red-handed.  Guilty as sin.  It was also his second offense.  He had previously cheated on an English test.

 

He wasn't in our troop.  His dad was the Scoutmaster of a neighboring troop.  He was the senior patrol leader.

 

Should I have given this little cheat special consideration because he's an Eagle Scout?  No way!

 

We aren't talking the obvious infractions here.  Obviously cheating is cheating regardless of who does it.  If it's the superintendent's kid, he gets the discipline.  No problem.  Yet, somehow I get the feeling that if it is the superintendent's kid, the zero-tolerant rule would be seriously bent for the kid.  There's always some politics going on in the background with these things.

 

Like it is mentioned, heroin sales in the bathroom and Tums in a pocket are not equal infractions of the rule.  Little cheating and big cheating involve some common sense judgement, more towards the idea that cheating is cheating and pretty obvious.  There is a distinction between illegal drugs and over the counter meds for an upset stomach.  A rational person should be able to tell the difference.  If not, there's a bigger problem than the zero-tolerance policy.

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Teachers and administrators cannot "bend" the zero tolerance policy.  That's the whole point of the policy.

 

If the kid pleads guilty and takes his/her punishment, as proscribed by the policy, it goes no further.  If not, it goes to the school board.  

 

The only time I ever saw an administrators kid go before the school board, the administrator did not attend.  His wife represented their family.

 

The kid was given a fair hearing, without any favor or prejudice.

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There seems to be some confusion over what a zero tolerance policy really is.

 

A zero tolerance policy simply states that some types of infractions of the rules, no matter how large or how small, go directly to the school board.

 

A school board has this right.  

 

In school board speak, it is called primary jurisdiction.  The press and the public like to call it zero tolerance.  

Edited by David CO

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I don't agree that zero tolerance policies are universally disliked by everyone not in the education field.  My observation is that there is great public support for these zero tolerance policies, mostly from parents.

 

These policies wouldn't exist if they didn't have support from parents.

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If a kid has a gun at school where there's a zero-tolerance on guns it should be going to the police.

 

If a kid makes a hand gesture at recess playing cops and robbers, it goes to the school board.  The police have more important things to do than play political games around stupid policies.

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I don't agree that zero tolerance policies are universally disliked by everyone not in the education field.  My observation is that there is great public support for these zero tolerance policies, mostly from parents.

 

These policies wouldn't exist if they didn't have support from parents.

My observation is that zero tolerance is reviled by most parents.  I say this as a principal's husband, and my wife's experiences. In fact, in our local schools, the term "zero tolerance" is banned by the higher ups.  Then again, this is a very conservative area, and we like liberty.  Zero tolerance doesn't match conservatism. 

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There seems to be some confusion over what a zero tolerance policy really is.

 

A zero tolerance policy simply states that some types of infractions of the rules, no matter how large or how small, go directly to the school board.

 

A school board has this right.  

 

In school board speak, it is called primary jurisdiction.  The press and the public like to call it zero tolerance.  

The only confusion here is your inability to read what people are posting. As @@Stosh likes to say, with all due respect, you are missing the point by a light year.

 

Zero tolerance policies are written by lawyers and administrators. They work for the school board and the district. THEY control how they are written.

 

You CAN write a zero tolerance policy that achieves the spirit of the intent of the community (keeping drugs and drug dealers out of schools and communities) WITHOUT eliminating the common sense that goes with the application of the INTENT of the policy. See the elementary school kid who was expelled for bringing in a single Tums antacid. The INTENT of the policy was never to harm that kid, it was to keep the dope dealers and users out of schools.

 

So if the school board was listening to their constituents and implementing the INTENT of what they want, but ALSO working in common sense in to the policy, you CAN have zero tolerance policies that actually achieve their objectives.

 

Only an extremely naive person would want, or think someone wants, absolute zero tolerance on any issue. There will always be exceptions.

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One time for a college Sunday School class I attended, our teacher had different parishioners come in speak on various aspects of their careers and their spiritual walk. One county judge held a very interesting discussion about the focus of his career being the balance of justice and equity. I think his exposition of those two terms carried me through a lot of life.

 

Zero-tolerance may provide a form of justice, but for it to be humane, it must provide equitable solutions. When a principle treats a role-model like a thug for the presence of a safely stowed tool, he/she has abdicated a responsibility to act equitably. Now, that abdication (even to a school board) may have come as a condition for the job, but then we must ask: is a job where one is barred from being equitable worth having?

Edited by qwazse
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School Boards and their zero-tolerance policies are a prime example of independent fiefdoms outside our current code of law.  Instead of managing the operation and considering the welfare of the community they represent, they legislate, execute and adjudicate their own set of laws.  

 

If it's illegal elsewhere, they may or they might not turn jurisdiction over to the proper law enforcement agencies.  If the infraction to their rules is NOT illegal outside their fiefdom, then they are judge, jury and executioner of those "laws".

 

What happens is that within their little sphere of power and control they think they are immune from the greater powers of our country and when my son's civil rights were denied within the school's jurisdiction, they were upheld in the real judicial system and the school's principle, superintendent, and police liaison officer were all put in their places.  The state's attorney wouldn't prosecute the infraction my son was accused of because there was no evidence was found, nothing illegal about drawing pictures in art class, and a minor being interrogated without parents or lawyers present was illegal and the coerced confession was illegally obtained.  All in all, the school system can very close to being majorly sued if they didn't extend a sincere and public apology.

 

Things that don't seem to be able to make it to the real court system somehow find their way into the kangaroo courts of the school system where when challenged, in many cases might show evidence of general abuse of the civil rights of minors.  

 

The infraction my son was accused of never made to the local newspaper, but the public apology by the school did. 

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In the example Stosh gives, the parent truly is an idiot, for more reasons that one.

 

The teacher's lounge is well stocked with knives, spatulas, and every assorted piece of kitchenware that a teacher might need for a classroom celebration.

 

They're kept in a locked drawer.

 

Really?  A parent trying to "be prepared" is an idiot?  Is that the kind of things they teach School Board members?  To think of parents as being idiots? 

 

And for what - a standard table knife?  You know the ones - the ones that look like a knife and are good mostly for spreading butter or cutting soft food items like cake but aren't usually sharp enough to cut meat?

 

Frankly, the idiots are the school board members that demand this kind of foolishness.

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Teachers and administrators cannot "bend" the zero tolerance policy.  That's the whole point of the policy.

 

 

 

And this is frankly why "zero tolerance" or as you put it elsewhere, "primary jurisdiction" policies are amongst the dumbest policies any school district can come up with, and is frankly quite insulting to the professional staff of school districts - the Superintendents, Principles and Teachers at the schools.

 

When a kid brings a squirt gun to school, is there any good reason why the teacher and/or principle should not be allowed to deal with it instead of automatically sending it on to the School Board?  Ever looked at the comments when stories like a 5 year old boy is suspended and has to have a hearing at the school board because mom packed a table knife, or a ten year old girl is suspended and has to have a hearing at the school board because she had a roll of tums in her pocket, or a 16 year- old Eagle Scout is suspended and has to have a hearing at the school board because he has an axe in the trunk of his car?  They are not supportive of zero tolerance policies and especially of schools and school boards that have these kinds of policies.

 

We elect school boards to deal with the big picture - we expect them to hire professionals to be able to take care of the day to day issues and to keep our kids safe for drugs and real guns.  We don't hire them to keep our kids safe from nerf guns and plastic sporks. 

 

Now maybe you truly believe that the primary jurisdiction stuff is a good check and balance but most of us have seen far too many reports of school board rubber stamping the decisions of their Superintendents at these expulsion hearings because of "Zero Tolerance".

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