Pubdate: Fri, 29 Mar 2002
Source: Austin American-Statesman (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Austin American-Statesman
Author: Lily Tilton
Bookmark: (Youth)


Give a man a hammer and soon, everything will look like a nail. Zero- 
tolerance policies in schools has a similar effect, and it is one of the 
reasons schools are treating kids more like criminals and less like students.

Yes, there has been horrible violence in the nation's schools, and weapons 
and violent behavior should not be tolerated. But zero tolerance doesn't 
get rid of violence; it gets rid of kids, and worse, it undermines student 
trust and respect for educators.

Whether they admit it or not, kids turn to school for guidance, support, 
opportunity and inspiration. Children shouldn't have to fear bullies, gangs 
or terrorists, nor should they have to fear the punishment of an 
irrational, illogical policy. Such a policy ignores circumstantial evidence 
and equates ibuprofen with illegal drugs and a bread knife with a smoking gun.

Either abolish zero-tolerance policies, or call them what they are: brick 
wall policies. Zero-rationality policies.

Lily Tilton

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