Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zero Tolerance = Zero Intelligence

     Just a warning before I start this rant that I could very well devote an entire section of this blog to the dumbing-down and "zero tolerance" policies causing the decay of our nation's public education systems.  I have a hearty disdain and disgust for the "zero tolerance" policies and the school administrators being railroaded into enforcing this garbage.  BUT, I digress.
     On to the specific story I perused on Fox News this morning that really chapped my a$$.  The Reader's Digest version is that an elementary school in Rhode Island (Providence, not Quahog.  Please do not start a letter-writing campaign to mayor Adam West) banned an 8-year old boy from bringing a camoflague trucker's cap to school, because... are you ready for this? It has little plastic Army men glued to it.  I am totally not even making this up.  When I first read this I thought it was from the Onion.
     Here was the assignment: "Christian Morales says her son David was assigned to make a crazy hat for his class at the Tiogue School in Coventry, RI... her son came up with an idea to glue small plastic Army figures to a camoflague hat with an American flag."  Well, the principal said the hat was innapropriate because it violated a school ban on weapons and toy weapons.  The reason, according to the superintendent of the schools?  "We don't advocate having any concept of weapons in the school."
   Now, if you read this and don't have school age children yet, or they are long ago out of your house as "adults", you are probably laughing like hell. Don't. I will tell you in some other post, I know for a fact this goes on in many school systems.  My son's school district in Georgia (I won't say where) also had equally asinine "zero tolerance policies."  One of these aforementioned policies led to his expulsion just two weeks before finishing his junior year.  BUT FIRST, the rant.
     Are you freaking kidding me? Let me address two things.  First, the school has a ban on weapons (rightly so) and toy weapons (probably also a good idea since some toy firearms can look amazingly real).  But, stay with me here, these are miniature toy soldiers holding miniature toy weapons, NOT "toy weapons".  I mean, is this 8-year old going to somehow melt the toy army guy off of said toy weapon, and brandish the half-inch long toy plastic representation of a M16 rifle against his classmates?? I mean, it is not even a toy weapon!  It is a piece of little plastic molded to look like a weapon for a little plastic man! Criminy!  Second, this policy covers weapons and "depictions" of weapons.  Well, this is one issue of contention for these policies.  They are so vaguely worded they can be broadly interpreted.  This is as ignorant idiotic as kids who are suspended for bringing Tic-Tacs to school because they "resemble" pills.  Get a damn grip, people! What one person may be a "depiction" of a weapon may not be a depiction to another.  Seriously, is this young man going to take one of these diminutive plastic warriors and brandish him like a weapon and hold faculty hostage? Is he going to take them all off the cap and transmogrify them into some plasticine zombie death squad to roam the hallways of his school, shooting up the place with tiny plastic toy bullets? I think not. 
     Now, let me go back to the statement made by the superintendent, that they don't advocate having any concept of weapons at school.  This is moronic ludicrous.  How can school-age children have no concept of weapons?? Do the faculty wait at the front of the school for the children to jump off the buses (no, wait, jumping would be unsafe)... I mean carefully egress from the buses, and then as the reach the entrance, they all get their memories wiped with some of those flashy-thingys like the agents from "Men in Black"?  Or is this school district located within the town from the M. Night Shyama... I mean, Shamal.... oh crap, the guy who did "the Sixth Sense", "The Village"?  Are these precious little snowflakes* being shielded from the big bad world by being made to think there's no such thing as weapons? Have all of their history books been censored so any references to weapons during the American Revolution, Civil War, etc.etc. are expunged? Yes, this all sounds ridiculous.  And that is my point.
     If you ride this Crazy Train of flawed logic further to another station, in reality anything can be used as a weapon.  Ask a prison inmate, they'll tell you!  Even something as innocuous as a pillow can be a weapon if used in the wrong manner. Look, I can agree children need to be educated in an environment that is deemed safe enough, by rational people and plain old common sense, to where their lives are not in danger and know the administrators and faculty are looking out for their safety.  But these zero-tolerance policies that hamstring those same folks into making utterly ludicrous decisions that defy good sense is not the answer.

* "precious snowflakes" will appear again in a future post... count on it.