26 June 2007

Repost 1/13/2007 One of the reasons I hate zero tolerance...

Read this story first

You know, on paper, zero tolerance sounds good. I even supported it when my son (then six years old) repeated a line from a movie in school that the teacher took as a threat to another child and was suspended for a day, though I thought it extreme. That was the beginning of the end for me.

You see, I've had to FIGHT to get the schools to uphold it in cases where it applies. I had to threaten lawsuit to get a 5th grader suspended for a week, a boy that had threatened my daughter and a friend with a knife. Now, THAT is a threat, much more than my son repeating (innocently) a line from a movie.

And, that's half the reason I've gotten rid of cable in my house. My youngest isn't even allowed to watch ET. Have you HEARD the language in that? My kids would be suspended for LIFE.

But, that isn't the worst of it. I have to FIGHT to get them to suspend kids who make real threats or who leave very real bruises, but the school made my daughter remove one of my book cover keychains from her backpack. Why? Did it have a naked person on it? You know me better than that! Did it have a suggestive scene? Not when I was sending it to school as a ten-year-old's zipper pull! It had a picture of the heroine holding a dagger. A fictitious dagger in a painting. Wonder what they think of art relics that routinely had weapons in them.

And, like the school in this story, my oldest's school has a KNIGHT as the mascot...a KNIGHT with a sword...a real sword, mind you, welded between his gauntlet hands in the lobby of the school. How's that? No weapons in school, even in pictures?

Worse, I organized a book fund for the elementary school when my older two still went there. I got authors from all over the country to send me books to be raffled off by the school to raise money. These books were, often, signed by the authors. Mind you that I was realistic. I told them no erotic content was allowed and no gross horror. It's just too easy to offend people that way.

Want to know what happened? Not ONLY did they go through the kids' books and toss anything that looked "scary" back to me...keep in mind that a large portion of the books were written for fourth and fifth graders, so you'd expect that they LIKE a little fright...and I'd know having gone through two that age, already.

They also went through the adult books and, seemingly at random, removed a bunch of books and handed them to me, calling them "unsuitable." Unsuitable how? They were romance, horror, science fiction and fantasy books. One that they removed was a SWEET romance.

I should note that the school the youngest was in took ALL of the rejected books from the other school and raffled them off to raise money for THEIR school. That principal didn't even question that what I'd collected for them was suitable and welcome.

Now, before you wonder what backwoods, repressed society I live it, let me tell you. I live in a little town 30 miles outside of BOSTON. I don't live in the backwater. I live in the city...in a metropolis that reaches for 60 or more miles in each direction out from Boston as the hub.

This is what zero tolerance does in the hands of iditots.

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