Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

Earlier today I was reading an Associate Press article about David Morales, an eight-year-old Rhode Island boy whose patriotic baseball cap was banned from school.  Why?  Because he glued plastic toy soldiers carrying guns to it.  He didn’t bring in any guns, real or otherwise.  He simply glued plastic soldiers to the hat.

What’s next?  Removing the pictures from history textbooks that include images of guns?  Do we remove all references to the Minute Men because they carried rifles?  While we’re at it, let’s re-write Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s “Concord Hymn” from “And fired the shot heard ’round the world.” to “And created a very loud noise heard ’round the world.

The Arizona Republic reported in 1998 of a 13-year-old student was inspired to build a model rocket after seeing the movie “October Sky”, a biography of NASA rocket scientist Homer Hickam.  School officials classified the toy as a “weapon” and suspended him for the rest of the year based on its zero tolerance weapons policy.

Sorry, Mr. Hickam, while your story is compelling, we can’t possible have any of the children bring in model rockets because all rockets are weapons.

In 2002 an eleven-year-old bold died because his school’s zero tolerance drug policy prevented him from carrying his inhaler on his person.

The issue is not guns, drugs, harassment, weapons, rockets, explosives, racial epithets, or any societal ill other than the sheer lack of common sense.

As the father of two I certainly don’t want my children exposed to anything harmful, especially in the classroom, but can no one apply a modicum of common sense to any of these situations?

There little to no evidence that these zero tolerance policies do anything to make our schools safer or improve students’ behavior.

Thankfully, for Master Morales, Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio took matters in to his own hands and bestowed David a challenge coin and a certificate that allows him to call himself a brigadier general!  In his words “You did nothing wrong, and you did an outstanding job.  We can only hope that kids of your caliber will continue to defend this country.”

Maybe there is a little hope after all.


~ by Marc Hedish on June 18, 2010.

One Response to “Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance”

  1. It does seems like some of our communities dont have a concept of how to draw a line….we can’t go back 50 years…We have to exert real common sense..Lawyers have way too much control over our morality and probably our politics too.

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