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When "Zero-Tolerance" Makes "Zero-Sense"

Friday, June 14, 2013

We've been reporting very regularly on ridiculous cases involving over-zealous school officials misinterpreting and wrongly enforcing "zero-tolerance" rules.

In March, we reported on an outrageous case of a seven-year-old Baltimore, Md. student who, according to a March 2, Daily Caller article, was suspended for two days for the nefarious act of shaping a breakfast pastry into what his teacher thought looked like a gun.  Yes, a breakfast pastry.

According to the young student, he was eating the strawberry pastry during snack time and was biting off pieces in an attempt to shape it into a mountain.  Apparently, the teacher thought the student's handiwork instead looked like a gun, and escorted him to the principal's office for prompt disciplinary action. 

In a recent follow-up story, the Daily Caller reported on more bad news for the young victim of over-zealous school administrators. 

According to the article, this week, a lawyer for the family received a letter from school administrators who officially denied an appeal to have the suspension expunged from the second-grader's permanent record, thus ensuring an equally permanent blot on the child's record.  How unreasonable and unnecessary can you get?

The story's unhappy ending serves as yet another reminder of the pitfalls encountered when "zero-tolerance" rules are applied without exercising even the smallest measure of sound judgment or basic common sense.  Presumably, even the most ardent gun control advocate doesn't believe that a child could actually shoot someone with a breakfast pastry. 

As we now note on a seemingly weekly basis, all of us agree that we want our children to be safe at school, and that reasonable safety measures should be followed.  But this continued unreasonable, zero-common-sense enforcement of "zero tolerance" policies not only encroaches on our freedom, but places an extreme and unfair burden on innocent children and their families.

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