Monday, April 13, 2009

"Zero tolerance" prepares youth for zero freedom

I have long been awestruck by the innate stupidity of "zero tolerance" policies applied in our schools. As this article by John W. Whitehead shows, they have been ineffective at reducing crime or bad behavior; but very effective at teaching our children that they have no rights under the law.

One factor that Mr. Whitehead does not consider may be a motivator: the concern school administrators have of being subject to lawsuits. For this reason, I would be in favor of a carefully-written law to provide limited immunity from lawsuits to educators who apply what most of us would consider to be reasonable discipline. It should be a State law, but I suppose the Feds have already trumped it.

In any event, whatever happened to the idea that one of the principal purposes of education was to produce informed citizens? "Zero tolerance" gives our young people the wrong information.

Virtual buckeye to Syclone538 at the Ohio Freedom Alliance.


Ben said...

I am not for "zero tolerance" but I am for stronger discipline in schools - generaly speaking.

Harold Thomas said...

I have no problem with discipline, either; but it needs to be tempered with some common sense. "Zero tolerance" leaves zero room for common sense -- instead it tends to impose Draconian penalites on minor offenses that could be more effectively handled in other ways.
For this reason, it tends to encourage contempt for the rules as young people see an obvious disconnect between an offense and its punishment.
At the very least, I think we can say that the appropriate punishment for an offense cannot be dictated at the Federal level -- and often not even on a school district level. What is needed for an inner city school might be excessive in an affluent suburb. There are times (in my opinion) when a swat in the rear is the only effective solution; but at other times, creative approaches that teach, as well as punish, are more appropriate.


Syclone538 said...

Thanks for the Buckeye lol. I guess I should mention that I found the article in the Mansfield News Journal.

I think this has made me decide to continue to post at the OFA, even if it is just posting articles that I think more people should see.

I’ll have to start paying more attention to what gets posted here too.