I was talking with a friend of mine today, about kids, how things have changed since we were young; you know… the usual chat-chat. The conversation rolled into the education system of today and we both got onto our common rant, then it went on into the zero tolerance policy.
Well, I had to step down from the “standardized test” soap box, just to step up onto this new one.
Now before I continue, I realize that some of you are in the education field. Some of you are teachers. I am aware you do not set the district policies and guidelines, and your hands are tied in these matters. I do not blame the teachers (on either soap box matter). This is an Administration issue.
In 1995, the State of Texas implemented a Zero Tolerance policy for their schools. For those not familiar with this concept, in schools, Zero Tolerance refers to the concept that certain types of disciplinary offenses will not be tolerated and automatically result in suspension or expulsion. For example, a Zero Tolerance Drug Policy means that if a child is caught with over-the-counter Tylenol, the child would be suspended, as though they were caught carrying an illegal drug.
Now, I can see where this was developed with good intentions, but here’s where I have a problem…
Ladies – remember back when you were in school and Aunt Rose would come visit? Aunt Rose was always such a pain. If you didn’t have anything with you (Tylenol, Midol, or other over-the-counter remedies), you could always count on your best friend. You could always tell her what was wrong, and you could always ask for help. You learned to rely on one another. Just the same, when her Aunt Rose came to visit, if she needed anything, she’d come ask you. We learned to help each other. What would happen if a teen did that today? They can’t. The Zero Tolerance Policy prohibits it. What are we teaching our kids? We certainly aren’t teaching them how to rely on each other in time of need. And if they do, heaven forbid, they’re punished. So are we instilling a mistrust of authority while we’re at it?
That’s my rant for today. I’ll step off of my soap box now.