Two cases of box-cutters at school have been in the news this week.
In Blaine, Tony Richard, 17, was suspended for 10 days and could be expelled after a box cutter was found in his car. Richard says it’s there because he uses it at his after-school job at Cub Foods.
The school, like many others, has a zero-tolerance policy on “weapons.”
What was the school worried about? Probably what the officials over in Sheboygan, Wisconsin were. A 16-year-old student faces charges after his mother called the school to say he planned to “handle the situation” of another kid who chased him with a baseball bat on Monday. He was picked up on Tuesday with a box cutter.
A week or so ago, a kid in Naperville, Illinois was suspended under a zero-tolerance policy. He had a Swiss Army Knife. He was to be expelled until officials considered the fact he’s a special needs student.
The American Bar Association has looked at the zero-tolerance movement and found it lacking.
The ABA Journal story noted how unfair zero tolerance policies have become. One private attorney in Virginia observed that children are able to understand that there is a difference between being treated equally and being treated fairly. She said, “Kids are not going to respect teachers and administrators who cannot appreciate the difference between a plastic knife and a switch-blade.”
The lawyers association said in a 2001 report that “most current policies eliminate the common sense that comes with discretion and, at great cost to society and to children and families, do little to improve school safety.”
Do you favor zero-tolerance policies?