Zero tolerance gone too far


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Sportcat
October 4, 2005, 02:00 PM
Slow reporting in BB gun incident
By Meryl Dillman Anderson Independent-Mail
October 3, 2005

School District of Pickens County Superintendent Mendel Stewart said there was no intent to "cover up" the Sept. 15 incident in which a Pickens High School student brought an unloaded plastic BB pistol to school.

In a release, Mr. Stewart said the BB pistol was in the student's athletic bag. He accidentally brought the wrong bag from home to practice, Mr. Stewart said at the time of the incident.

According to the release, the athletic director didn't immediately report the incident to Pickens High School Principal Marion Lawson. Mr. Lawson found out about the incident several days later, on Sept. 20, and an investigation into the facts was then conducted.

The investigation concluded that the reporting was delayed due to other intervening factors, not to "cover up" the incident, Mr. Stewart said. Appropriate corrective action was taken with regard to those employees who didn't immediately report the gun, he said, because they didn't follow district policy or state law when they didn't tell the principal right away.

The release stated that the BB gun was seen in the student's bag while he was getting ready for an after-school athletic practice. A coach saw it and immediately reported it to the school's athletic director.

Once players had left the locker room, the coach and athletic director returned to the locker room. They searched for and found the gun with no ammunition. They then brought the student back to the locker room to identify the gun. They told the student the incident would be reported to the principal. Unfortunately, Mr. Stewart said, the principal didn't learn about it for five days.

It has been concluded that the student didn't knowingly bring the BB gun to school and had no intent to use it. But under district policy and state law, students can't carry any weapon or other item that can be used to inflict bodily injury or death onto school grounds. Therefore, the student was suspended.

Meryl Dillman can be reached

at 864-260-1269 or by e-mail at

dillmanmk@IndependentMail.com.

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Henry Bowman
October 4, 2005, 02:41 PM
It has been concluded that the student didn't knowingly bring the BB gun to school and had no intent to use it. But under district policy and state law, students can't carry any weapon or other item that can be used to inflict bodily injury or death onto school grounds. Therefore, the student was suspended. There ends today's lesson. Understand? :banghead:

3 gun
October 4, 2005, 02:48 PM
"But under district policy and state law, students can't carry any weapon or other item that can be used to inflict bodily injury or death onto school grounds."

Better leave the pencils and pens at home too. Hope nobody sharpened their baseball spikes. Course with that rule the team can't have bats either..right??

MechAg94
October 4, 2005, 03:05 PM
What does suspension mean? A few days? the whole year?

I agree in principle. Zero Tolerance is foolish altogether. I am sure the principles like it since they don't have to think or make judgements.

Jeeper
October 4, 2005, 03:24 PM
"But under district policy and state law, students can't carry any weapon or other item that can be used to inflict bodily injury or death onto school grounds."

Better leave the pencils and pens at home too. Hope nobody sharpened their baseball spikes. Course with that rule the team can't have bats either..right??


I guess everyone will be naked since there isnt much that cant be used as a weapon.

dasmi
October 4, 2005, 03:29 PM
students can't carry any weapon or other item that can be used to inflict bodily injury or death onto school grounds.
Books. I bet I could kill someone with a heavy text book. Better ban the books. And I think it's best if our children are issued safety scissors.

CAS700850
October 4, 2005, 03:58 PM
When those in a position to impart punishment lose their discretion, bad things happen. Such as this. Funny for a prosecutor to say it, but judges, principals, etc., should never have their discretion taken away, because there are often situations (like this) where discretion in imposing punishment allows for true and proper justice.

haole_boySS
October 4, 2005, 04:06 PM
Zero Tolerance......Hmm, reminds me of an incident here in DC with the Metro system. There is a ZT policy that Metro has for Food & Drinks on their trains. Shortly after the policy was started, they arrested a little girl for eating McD's fries on the train. I believe she was 8-10 yrs old. I just laughed and shook my head.

UberPhLuBB
October 4, 2005, 04:20 PM
But under district policy and state law, students can't carry any weapon or other item that can be used to inflict bodily injury or death onto school grounds.

Uh. Better get rid of all those books, pencils, backpacks, desks, bike locks, rocks, asphault, coke vending machines, baseball bats, chalk board erasers, windows, light bulbs, computers, pointing sticks, trees, calculators and chairs. Oh and don't forget the lunch food, one student could potentially get another sick that way.

That is disgusting. That one line lets them do whatever they want in the name of student safety. :barf:

Sportcat
October 4, 2005, 04:23 PM
WORDS
Words can hurt, too!

Germs
No need to infect people and make them sick!


Must ban words and germs!!!

1 old 0311
October 4, 2005, 04:26 PM
Weapons? Don't forget that a sock with a bar of soap in it can crack a skull open.

Kevin

hso
October 4, 2005, 05:07 PM
plastic BB gun???

I don't remember any plastic BB guns.

I wonder what they're talking about?

enfield303
October 4, 2005, 05:22 PM
I'm thinking it's probably an Airsoft gun. the only way to kill someone with one of those is to beat them to death with it. And that could take a while. :evil:

CAPTAIN MIKE
October 4, 2005, 05:47 PM
Boy, and to think I can remember the days when many high school basements served as the indoor rifle ranges for the school rifle team or ROTC unit, and the days when students could bring our hunting rifles to school, place them in the safekeeping custody of our home room teacher and pick them back up after school for hunting on our way home.

Nowdays, they call out the SWAT team on the mere mention of the word "Gun" and they suspend students for bringing an unloaded plastic BB gun to school by mistake.

What's next -- no peeing in the pool??

Technosavant
October 4, 2005, 05:54 PM
Zero tolerance policies have come about because of lawsuit-happy parents. If a school official would use discretion and overlook this incident, then when a true punk is suspended for bringing a real weapon to school (with malice in his little cold heart), the punk's parents would sue the school district and principle, because their son has been discriminated against.

Zero tolerance is indeed stupid, but it was a rational reaction to the overlitigation of society. There were 3 choices:
1) Hammer everybody (zero tolerance)
2) Hammer nobody (tolerance to the point of stupidity)
3) Hammer only the truly guilty and get sued (proper tolerance, too many lawyers)

Since option 2 is ludicrous and option 3 gets too expensive for any district to manage, you end up with option 1.

I had inadvertently taken a knife to high school some 13 years ago. When I realized I had the thing with me, I buried it DEEP in my bookbag (zero tolerance wasn't in effect then, but it was still a mega-suspension) and was forever more vigilant than ever. You've gotta pay attention to what is in your schoolbag.

Zach S
October 4, 2005, 05:58 PM
Books. I bet I could kill someone with a heavy text book. Better ban the books.
I never tried to kill anyone with my history book, although it did find its way into a fight once. Along with a trash can, locker door, desk, football helmet (well, I was on the recieving end of that one).

I had inadvertently taken a knife to high school some 13 years ago. When I realized I had the thing with me, I buried it DEEP in my bookbag (zero tolerance wasn't in effect then, but it was still a mega-suspension) and was forever more vigilant than ever. You've gotta pay attention to what is in your schoolbag. 14 years ago, when I was in the fifth grade, I loaned my knife to a teacher to open a box. She handed it back when she was finished, and thanked me. Even in high school a knife wasnt too big a deal. I got caught with mine once, and it was returned to me at the end of the day. Of course they always got to be a little more strict the next year. When I quit, they'd take your knife, and wouldnt return it.

Standing Wolf
October 4, 2005, 06:00 PM
Zero tolerance is indeed stupid, but it was a rational reaction to the overlitigation of society.

I'd be more inclined to call it a "cowardly reaction" than a "rational reaction."

It's time and long past time to control the nation's assault lawyers.

Chrontius
October 4, 2005, 06:06 PM
I'm inclined to say that the student should proceed to demonstrate how everything on his person -- down to his underpants -- could be used to "inflict bodily injury or death" if swung/held the right way. Then proceed to point out how everything the principal has in his office can be used the same way and then threaten litigation for the faculty flagrantly violating the laws governing school safety.

The best way to have an unjust law repealed is to enforce it fairly.

MachIVshooter
October 4, 2005, 06:47 PM
14 years ago, when I was in the fifth grade, I loaned my knife to a teacher to open a box. She handed it back when she was finished, and thanked me. Even in high school a knife wasnt too big a deal. I got caught with mine once, and it was returned to me at the end of the day. Of course they always got to be a little more strict the next year. When I quit, they'd take your knife, and wouldnt return it.

Amazing, isn't it? We're about the same age and I remember similar instances. At the end of my fifth grade year, we were moving. My dad had bought me some non-alcoholic beer. I brought it to school to share with a couple friends. The teacher (from whom we did not attempt to obscure the beer) suggested that I put it back in my bookbag until after school and that was the end of it. The following year, I was told to keep my pocket knives in my pocket during school. Two years later, I was suspended for a 2-3/4" pocket knife. The following year I was expelled for a 4" one. I never went back.

Now we have adults being fired from their jobs for legal possession of firearms on property where they have not been expressly prohibited. :barf: Something's gotta give

Chawbaccer
October 4, 2005, 07:00 PM
This "incident" required an "investigation" and a "news release"...........

Is it any wonder that schools require more and more of out tax money and have such a bloated ratio of staff to students. What a waste.

MrTuffPaws
October 4, 2005, 07:04 PM
Hey, I am the first to tell you Zero tolerance is BS, but ignorance is not a defense. The kid broke the rules, no matter how stupid they are, he should still face the consequences. You don't like the rules, then change them.

Hawkmoon
October 4, 2005, 07:10 PM
But under district policy and state law, students can't carry any weapon or other item that can be used to inflict bodily injury or death onto school grounds. Therefore, the student was suspended.
I guess we'll be accelerating research into how we can temporarily separate kids heads from their bodies, then, since for as long as there has been recorded history (and probably a long time before that) hands and feet have certainly been capable of inflicting bodily injury and even death.

So we'll just leave the hands and feet at home, thank you, and carry the kids' heads to school in little racks designed for the purpose.

Geno
October 4, 2005, 07:15 PM
Before becoming a college professor (teaching educational leadership) I was a high school principal. I too had to work under "zero tolerance". In this exact type instance, I would not, and DID NOT suspend the student.

The fact is that the admin. must assess did the child knowingly bring, and intend to you use? No and No. So, why suspend? Some times children should be chewed out FORCEFULLY, cram the facts of potential expulsion down their little throats, then, release the "offensive item" back to Mom and Dad to be kept under lock and key.

For my part, and as a previous public school administrator, with a Ph.D. in K-12 Ed. Admin, and now a professor of that same, I say this "gentleman" was spineless. He hid behind zero tolerance.

Wrong decision!

Edit to add following:

My spoken and written policy was that discipline WOULD be handled within 24 to 36 hours, or there would be no discipline. That practice put the responsibility for "professionalism" back onto me. besides, children have the right to get on with life. That fact really bothered...A LOT! Five days?!?!

Bad policy, bad practice, bad decision!

Doc2005

Turtle Club
October 4, 2005, 07:17 PM
I had a teacher in High School quit because they suspended him because he had a plastic, clear squirt gun he kept in his class. It was the size of a tape dispencer. He would squirt students with if if they sfell alseep during class. Not a lot just enough to make them jump up and feel embarassed. It was funny. It was'nt degrading. It kept some of us from sleeping. Well he had been doing this for years. He was suspended for a while because a student (not even in his class) saw the squirt gun one day passing by and was offended. I do agree that zero tolerance is too much. So it was a plastic BB Gun. It wasnt a carbine rifle.

Strings
October 4, 2005, 07:55 PM
Heh... I remember my art teacher in highschool (this would've been '86-'90) asking if anyone had a knife: of course, all the farm boys did (typical folders, and a switchblade or two). Several of the cheerleaders offered theirs (again, typical folders), and then there was me: a Gerber MkII. My Gerber was also used by the Chief of police in one of the local stores, to jimmy open their dressing room. Never heard ANYTHING about how I shouldn't be carrying it...

Old Fuff
October 4, 2005, 08:16 PM
MrTuffPaws:

>> The kid broke the rules, no matter how stupid they are, he should still face the consequences. <<

According to the story, the student did not deliberately bring this unloaded bb-gun to school. At the time he was unaware that he had it.

He also didn't have any "ammunition" (read that to mean b-b's).

Also he apparently didn't threaten anyone, in any way.

>> You don't like the rules, then change them. <<

Sure ................ Like how??? I take it that this is a liberal leaning school district. At least they act that way ...


>> Hey, I am the first to tell you Zero tolerance is BS ... <<

Really think so?? Sure doesn't sound like it. :rolleyes:

Kramer Krazy
October 5, 2005, 10:20 AM
I still have my father's trophy from 1958 when he was in a competition while on the high school shooting team.......I wish my high school was that cool. :(

TonyB
October 5, 2005, 10:54 AM
I've been carrying one kind of knife or another since I was like 10...of course we had a high school rifle team..and this was in the 80's not so long ago...I have a zero tolerance for zero tolerance policies :uhoh:

sumpnz
October 5, 2005, 11:18 AM
I guess everyone will be naked since there isnt much that cant be used as a weapon. This is my rifle, this is my gun ...

HankB
October 5, 2005, 12:05 PM
I carried a pocket knife (what they called a "Boy Scout Knife", Remington's version of a Swiss Army Knife) since about 5th grade. Never got a second look, and this was in Chicago.

As a freshman in high school circa 1971, I did a required presentation for some class, and did it on "Terminal Ballistics" which included pass-around samples of recovered bullets. Got an "A" for both that assignment and that course. (Chicago again.)

Shortly before summer break, squirt-gun "wars" broke out in my high school each year. No big deal until "someone" sniped the school principal as he was walking in. :evil:

There are other examples, but for today's reaction . . . well, look at my .sig, it says it all.

GunGoBoom
October 5, 2005, 12:27 PM
Better leave the pencils and pens at home too. Hope nobody sharpened their baseball spikes. Course with that rule the team can't have bats either..right??

Exactly. Aren't they putting their baseball team at a distinct disadvantage by making them play with whiffle ball bats? And what about all the fumes from the permanant markers they must use to do their work, since pencils and ballpoint pens aren't allowed?

Chrontius
October 5, 2005, 11:44 PM
http://www.ranting-gryphon.com/Rants/2rant-guns.mp3

Damn. Sometimes furries make sense. Listen, laugh.

And what about all the fumes from the permanant markers they must use to do their work, since pencils and ballpoint pens aren't allowed?

Fumes explode. We can't have that now, can we?


I had a teacher in High School quit because they suspended him because he had a plastic, clear squirt gun he kept in his class. It was the size of a tape dispencer. He would squirt students with if if they sfell alseep during class. Not a lot just enough to make them jump up and feel embarassed. It was funny. It was'nt degrading. It kept some of us from sleeping. Well he had been doing this for years. He was suspended for a while because a student (not even in his class) saw the squirt gun one day passing by and was offended.

And people wonder why teachers never last long...

Archangel
October 6, 2005, 08:47 AM
Aren't they putting their baseball team at a distinct disadvantage by making them play with whiffle ball bats?

Can't let then have wiffle ball bats, either. I mean, you could fill one with sand or something for weight...


Actually, there was a kid in my wife's high school class (this was in California, so take that into consideration) who was expelled a couple weeks before graduation for violating the school's zero tolerance drugs, alcohol, and weapons policy. Violated all three, actually.

What did this miscreant do?

He switched cars with his mom one day, and just happened to get picked for a random search in the parking lot. In the trunk they found a bottle of advil (drugs), a bag of empty aluminum cans meant to be recycled which just happened to have a couple empty beer cans mixed in (alcohol), and a wiffle ball bat (weapon).

He was expelled, and not allowed to graduate, despite the entire school, including the pricipal, siding with him. The school board said nope, zero tolerance. :cuss:

SgtGunner
October 6, 2005, 08:58 AM
Lindsay Brown is a very gifted young woman not far from me. Shortly after this incident I had the pleasure of meeting her and her family. I was quite impressed. This was a couple years ago, but I think it says it all about zero tolerance.


Why isn't Lindsay Brown happy? She’s getting ready to graduate
from Estero High School in Fort Myers, Fla. What’s more, she’ll be
wearing a gold tassel on her graduation gown, a tassel which
honors her position as a National Merit Scholar. After summer
vacation Lindsay will start at Florida Gulf Coast University, where
she was awarded an academic scholarship.

Well, not really. Yes, she’s a National Merit Scholar. Yes, she has an
academic scholarship. But she won’t be wearing that gold tassel.
She won’t even be wearing the graduation gown. Lindsay, you see,
is our latest victim of the hysterical and intellectually vapid
zero-tolerance crap that permeates our insipid government schools
across the nation.

Last weekend Lindsay Brown moved some of her belongings to her
new apartment. During the move a kitchen knife – not a steak knife,
not a butcher knife – just a simple little kitchen knife fell out of a box
and became wedged under the front passenger seat.

When Lindsay drove that car to school on Monday the knife was
spotted by a security officer. Lindsay was arrested and taken to jail.
Taken to jail because there was a kitchen knife in her car. The local
sheriff’s office considered the presence of this kitchen knife to
constitute probable cause to believe that Lindsay intended to use
this knife as a weapon to hurt someone.

Lindsay Brown spent nine hours in jail. NINE HOURS! Nine hours in
the custody of the state because of a kitchen knife in the car! Now
she won’t get to graduate with her friends. She won’t go to the
senior class breakfast. She won’t get to go to the yearbook party.
Yeah, she’ll get her diploma – and a record - a record for bringing a
"dangerous weapon” onto school property.

This is nothing less than mindless hysteria. The leftist mania over
guns has brought us to the point where common sense is virtually
lacking in the operation of our government schools.

A kitchen knife is a weapon? Consider this. If you had to retrieve a
weapon from your car, which would you chose? A kitchen knife or
the jack handle? How about the tire iron? Every single car in that
parking lot at Estero High School has a tire iron. They have
transmission dip sticks that could be used as swords. They have
spark plug wires that could be used as garrotes. The car itself could
be used to mow down a fellow student.

Mindless, abject stupidity!

Aren’t we supposed to be trying to teach our kids how to think
rationally? Is there anything rational about this zero-tolerance
nonsense?

Lindsay is just one in a long list of victims of these idiotic
zero-tolerance policies.

There was that Eagle Scout in Florida. Remember him? He had a
Scout meeting one night at which he taught young Boy Scouts the
proper handling of a hatchet. The hatchet was in the trunk of his car,
along with the rest of his Scouting gear, when he went to school the
next day. Suspended. Kicked out.

How about that girl in Atlanta who was kicked out of a government
school because she had a Tweetie Bird key chain? The school
principal said the chain could be a weapon.

Then there was that boy who took a knife away from a young girl
who said she was going to use it to kill herself. He locked the knife
in his locker. He got kicked out of school for four months. Two days
later that girl did try to kill herself, but failed. Maybe if she had tried
with that knife the kid took from her she would have succeeded.
Maybe he saved a life! Doesn’t matter, kick him out of school.

This left-wing generated mindless politically correct hysteria over
weapons in our schools MUST STOP!

The first line of defense? Getting your kid out of government school
and into a private school where administrators actually think before
they act.

Boss Spearman
October 6, 2005, 09:06 AM
If I had children, I think I'd home school them.

roo_ster
October 6, 2005, 11:19 PM
I won't let the gov't school types get their claws into my progeny.

Lupinus
October 6, 2005, 11:27 PM
utterly redicules. People make mistake's and pick up the wrong bag. Now if it had been a glock with a few fully loaded mag's that would be one thing. But a bb gun that had no ammo, and to kill some one would probably require you shooting a bb strait through the eye?

Redicules. More then a few time's wearing the same pair of pant's from the day before I accidently brought a knife to school. Told the teacher when I relized it, gave it to the teacher, got it back on the way out.

Anti-gun crap goes to far. Partly I can't always blame them. 50 year's ago if you gave a kid a bb gun the parent's would actually take the time to instruct the kid. Nowaday's a lot of parent's give the kid a bb gun and say go have fun, and go "oh my little johnny wouldn't do that!" when the cop bring's him home with new's a few neighbor's are down a car window or two....and then go buy the kid a new bb gun :rolleyes:

MrTuffPaws
October 7, 2005, 12:10 AM
According to the story, the student did not deliberately bring this unloaded bb-gun to school. At the time he was unaware that he had it.

He also didn't have any "ammunition" (read that to mean b-b's).

Also he apparently didn't threaten anyone, in any way.

The rule is no guns. Airsoft or not. Simple put, if you break the law via negligence or via intent, it is still breaking the law.

Lupinus
October 7, 2005, 12:23 AM
granted. but punishment should fit the crime

if some guy get's into an argument with me and it ends up in a fight there is a difference between me breaking his nose and beating him into a bloody pulp to the point he nearly die's.

Punishment's need to fit crime. Discretion shouldn't be taken away however there is a problem.

To often liberal activist judge's refuse to make criminal's pay for their crime's using their own discretion, and we (well...the general public anyway) allow then to keep their job's rather then booting them out. So as a result you need manditory minimum sentencing and the guy with a legitimate reason end's up technicly commiting a crime and doing the same punishment as a true criminal.

Old Fuff
October 7, 2005, 09:36 AM
>> The rule is no guns. Airsoft or not. Simple put, if you break the law via negligence or via intent, it is still breaking the law. <<

There are guns, and then there are GUNS. An Airsoft with no ammunition doesn't represent any serious threat, unless it was displayed as a threat, which it wasn't. The student in question didn't pull it out, point it at anyone, or treaten anybody - and there is no evidence he intended too. He also had no record of negative behavior of any kind.

We are talking about youngsters, not adults; and rules and regulations, not laws. The Airsoft might meet a description of "gun," but not "firearm," and its firearms that the school should be worried about.

If I am driving down a road and am stopped by an officer because I have a brake light out (which has happened) the officer may issue me a ticket (I did break the law) or a warning to get the light fixed (which he did). In such matters it's a case of the officer using his own judgment. Zero tolerance is when an authority figure simply hides behind a rule book to avoid any risk of using good judgement. I would like to think that students in our public schools have a right to work under staff that can use good judgement depending on the circumstances of an individual case - all of which in some ways will be different.

SteveS
October 7, 2005, 11:28 AM
I believe in placing blame where it is due.

Zero tolerance is indeed stupid, but it was a rational reaction to the overlitigation of society.

In MI, the zero tolerence "weapons" policies are a product of our legislature and governor (I should say prior governor). They were put in place following Columbine and they mandate that schools have these no-discretion policies. They had little to do with overlitigation and more to do with a knee-jerk reaction.

Tokugawa
October 7, 2005, 12:14 PM
Zero Tolerance has nothing to do with preventing violence. Zero Tolerance is a method used by authority to avoid having to make a judgement and thus avoiding responsibility. "I'm sorry Mr. Jones, that's just the rules." This is the ultimate cop-out - gone into in some depth in the book, "The Death of Common Sense"

I was looking at a Photo Journalism book, by David Duncan. He had a photo of a table filled with small penknives, nail files etc.- the same stuff you can't bring to school or on the airlines. The commentary was about how these things were taken from people before entering a assembly of officials, because the authority's didn't trust them with "weapons".
The place?- USSR. The time?- mid 60's. Welcome to the land of the free.

Chrontius
October 7, 2005, 06:42 PM
The rule is no guns. Airsoft or not. Simple put, if you break the law via negligence or via intent, it is still breaking the law.

You know, all a simple blowgun is is a rolled up piece of paper.

BAN PAPER! :evil:

pete f
October 8, 2005, 12:47 AM
In my grade school 4th Grade was a big deal because you started BoyScouts and you got to carry your scout knife with you everywhere you went, because you were "prepared"

In eight grade, with parents written permission you were allowed to take your 22 or shottie to school so you could hunt on the way home.

this was in massachusetts. about 1970

Now we just had a kid in a local high school get suspended for driving dads truck to school the day after the weekend duck season. they are calling a empty 12 ga casing a weapon. MAJOR lawsuit will be arising out of this.

Daughter got in trouble for keeping a screw driver and pair of plyers in her hockey bag for fixing stuff, she also had a pair of blunt tip scissors for cutting tape off ankles. she was told these were weapons...nothing said about the carbon fiber hockey stick she carried, in softball she would carry her bat on the bus without anyone saying anyting, but the pliers and screwdriver were offensive

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