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Mon Feb 18, 2013, 07:57 PM

Zero tolerance or zero sense? Kids' suspensions over imaginary weapons renew debate

"It's horrible what they're doing to these kids," said Kelly Guarna, whose 5-year-old daughter, Madison, was suspended by Mount Carmel Area School District in eastern Pennsylvania last month for making a "terroristic threat" with the bubble gun. "They're treating them as mini-adults, making them grow up too fast, and robbing them of their imaginations."

Mary Czajkowski, superintendent of Barnstable Public Schools in Hyannis, Mass., acknowledged that Sandy Hook has teachers and parents on edge. But she defended Hyannis West Elementary School's warning to a 5-year-old boy who chased his classmates with a gun he'd made from plastic building blocks, saying the student didn't listen to the teacher when she told him repeatedly to stop.

The school told his mother if it happened again, he'd face a two-week suspension.

"Given the heightened awareness and sensitivity, we must do all that we can to ensure that all students and adults both remain safe and feel safe in schools," Czajkowski said in a statement. "To dismiss or overlook an incident that results in any member of our school community feeling unsafe or threatened would be irresponsible and negligent."

The boy's mother, Sheila Cruz-Cardosa, said school officials are responding irrationally in the wake of Sandy Hook. She said they should be concentrating on "high school kids or kids who are more of a threat, not an innocent 5-year-old who's playing with Legos.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/kids-suspensions-renew-debate-over-zero-tolerance

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply Zero tolerance or zero sense? Kids' suspensions over imaginary weapons renew debate (Original post)
The Straight Story Feb 2013 OP
MichiganVote Feb 2013 #1
ProgressiveProfessor Feb 2013 #13
MichiganVote Feb 2013 #14
Deep13 Feb 2013 #2
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #8
surrealAmerican Feb 2013 #3
Marrah_G Feb 2013 #4
surrealAmerican Feb 2013 #5
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #6
surrealAmerican Feb 2013 #9
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #10
bossy22 Feb 2013 #7
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #11
OceanEcosystem Feb 2013 #12

Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:08 PM

1. Ok, I get that common sense should prevail. But listen up public, this is the real message.

Schools and the people who work in them are scared shitless. And guess what? The public with guns scare the shit out of people who work in schools. Worse yet? The public with guns that politicians do not do a damn reasonable thing about scare the shit out of people who work in schools.

But there is one thing you're guaranteed of. You know all those cute photo op's of slick faced politicians visiting Mrs. whatshername's classroom? Won't be happenin' much anymore. Cuz' the politicians are scared shitless too.

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Response to MichiganVote (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 09:51 PM

13. Zero tolerance is not about being scared shitless...its more like being wittless

Zero tolerance have been in place for some time and the horror stories are legion.

We had our own close call with one of our daughters. Had we not stood up for her the school would have rode roughshod over her too. THe good news is that schools will back down in many cases if the parents make enough noise, including going to the media.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:30 PM

14. Like I said, common sense should prevail.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:11 PM

2. Stupid, totalitarian mentality. nt

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:46 PM

8. Exactly. We have a water-cooler dictator who doesn't care how many kids she hurts. n/t

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:18 PM

3. In this case, the school's action seems about right.

It's not really about the Lego gun. The child was chasing other kids and would not stop when warned. He wasn't suspended for this incident, but should be if it happens again - it's disruptive.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:19 PM

4. A two week suspension for such a young child is ridiculous.

He won't learn anything.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:26 PM

5. I guess that may be too long, given his age.

It's unlikely to come to that, but two days would probably be better than two weeks. You can't really just leave him in with the rest of the class if it's habitual behavior though.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:38 PM

6. A two week suspension is an idiotic way to deal with this.

For one thing, the ban on gun play is not only stupid, but even potentially harmful to kids - it forcefully stifles their imaginations. And the suspension it itself harmful - depriving the kid of an education and socialization with other kids.

For another thing, explain to me how punishing a little boy for making and playing with a toy gun will make the school safer?

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:48 PM

9. It's not about the toy gun.

It's about chasing other kids, and failing to stop when told. He wasn't suspended for this incident either: he was warned that he would be if he does it again.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:50 PM

10. Two weeks for running around and chasing other kids?

I'm not entirely believing that line. Authoritarians always come up with new and creative ways to demonize their targets.

Kids chase each other all the time.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:42 PM

7. in general, Zero sense

but as I always believe, depends on the situation.

I ponder this sometimes-
are there unintended consequences of trying to get rid of anything that resembles "aggressive/violent" behavior? Lets be honest, Young kids, especially young boys, are inherently aggressive (like most social mammals). They play cops and robbers, wrestle, chase each other with plastic swords etc.... For generations these things have been nothing more than "kids being kids". But as of recent (i'm talking in the last 20 years) such things have become "taboo" and society as a whole tends to take the view that any form of aggression/violence, even if there is no malice involved, must not be tolerated. My question is, is this possibly setting these kids up for future aggressive/violene issues? By not letting them learn how to control these urges and release them properly are we essentially telling them to just "bottle it up"- to the point that when these kids become teenagers, they really have no way of dealing with these urges/feelings. In essence, is the same problem with abstinence only sex-education true for zero tolerance policies like these? I'm not a psychologist but I think its an interesting question

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Response to bossy22 (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:54 PM

11. That's what I'm thinking.

I've seen no actual science that links aggression-mimicking play with real violence. In fact, I'd suggest it has a role of teaching kids where to draw the line between acceptable play and behavior that gets them in trouble.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:55 PM

12. Ridiculous. And ridiculous.

 

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