Things have really gotten out of hand…

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.

Dramatic Chipmunk Prepares to Rant!

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.

6 thoughts on “Things have really gotten out of hand…

  1. IMO and from what I’ve seen, zero tolerance means zero thought. I.e, we can’t be arsed to actually think about what is wrong and fix the problem, so we’ll just prohibit anything remotely approaching what we really need to stop.

  2. I agree with you…. sorta’.

    Yes, I agree that Zero Tolerance = Zero Thought. *However*, I’m a firm believer that the teachers and principals stuck enforcing these policies have their hands tied. These policies are set at the State level, which makes it an Administrative issue. If the teachers don’t enforce the policy, they could lose their jobs. In this economy, that’s not something you want to face.

    When we hear media coverage on these stories, we always hear just enough to paint the teachers or the school in a bad light. In reality, it’s the policy that needs to change.

  3. Zero tolerance stems from the need to keep drugs (guns, violence, etc) out of schools. It is an unfortunate ramification that such over the counter drugs as tylenol or midol are included in that. But frankly, if I send my highly-allergic to acetaminaphen kid to school, then I expect the school to care for him/her while under their watch. Think about how much liability the school is taking on by allowing freedom to exchange drugs because a young girl “claims” to have cramps.
    I remember when my Catholic school chums and I would go down the street to the drug store and purchase ‘over-the-counter- dramamine just to get a buzz.
    Kids are not always brilliant and they do not always make the wisest choices. I’m not opposed to the zero tolerance policies. However, I do feel that not all crimes justify the same punishment. And this is the part I am opposed to.
    Tylenol in school without a note from the parent and without it being locked in the clinic, should be a slap on the wrist…imo.

    1. Ehh…. I don’t know, Neesi. If I send my highly-allergic-to-acetaminophen kid to school, I’m also responsible for raising that kid to know what that allergy will do. My kid should know not to ask for something that will harm him or her, and should know to say “hey, I’m allergic to such-and-such”. Again, this comes back to how this generation can’t think outside of the box, has dramatically decreased critical thinking skills, etc… Something like this should be common sense, but we’re raising a generation of kids who may as well step out the door each day with a fresh coating of bubble-wrap, so God-forbid they don’t hurt themselves in some way. And by protecting them from themselves, and from each other, just how are we preparing them for the harsh reality of the real world? What coping skills are we giving them? Because they certainly don’t have a lick of common sense.

      :: breathes ::

      Sorry, my seester… I feel like I’ve just ranted at you. But this is really a soap box issue for me. :: hugs ::

  4. I’m right there with you. I understand the concerns and the need for it. But it goes too far and doesn’t allow for individual scenarios. I think it causes more problems than it solves. And reactionary policies like that are rarely good in the first place. One child in a few hundred million goes batshit and shoots up a school, and suddenly its, “OMG IT COULD HAPPEN HERE!”. /epic facepalm

    The law is too vague, too narrow, and is entirely too nanny-ish for my tastes. I am *not* looking forward to my kids going to school and having to deal with it.

    For a “get your law out of my life, less government” kind of attitude Texans have, by and large they are really not good at living that. From HOAs, to zero tolerance, they’re worse than the most liberal states I’ve lived in. I think most Texans do not understand what less government actually means.

    1. Also, there would be less need for zero tolerance policies if people were more willing to *put money into schools*. We need staff. WELL PAID, teachers. We need technology. We need all the things necessary to manage and teach large herds of children. But the money is instead funneled to political buddies and corporations that don’t need the money, instead of our schools and teachers and kids that really need it. OMG, I could rant there with you all day.

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