Saturday, February 11, 2006

Almost Zero Tolerance

Have you heard news stories of a nine-year dressing in a fireman's costume for a school Halloween party and getting expelled because the costume came with a plastic (and obviously fake) axe?

Have you heard about the boy who was disciplined for "shooting" another schoolmate by extending his index finger and thumb and saying "Bang"?

By adopting a zero tolerance approach to school violence, administrators don't have to even pretend to use their brains. No incident is too stupid to be covered.

That all changed yesterday when my step-daughter did something TOO STUPID FOR ZERO TOLERANCE. (For those of you who follow education policies, this is even bigger than Catwoman getting knocked up.)

My step-daughter's English class was studying drama with groups assigned to write and perform short plays. Her group had troubles coming up with anything exciting for the characters to do, and, in typical soap opera style, decided to kill off a few. One boy said to my stepdaughter something to the effect, "It be cool if we killed you."

Even though everyone in the room clearly understood that he was talking about the play, she ran to the teacher and insisted on having a "Death Threat Alert." This is like pulling a fire alarm: once you start it, you legally have to play it through. After wasting the time of her class and the administrators, the principal decided that even though zero-tolerance would mean the boy would get suspended, my stepdaughter had always known there was never a threat, but only acted to stay in the spotlight, on stage and off.

A conference is in the works.

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