Friday, February 15, 2008

Epiphany...


The past couple months (not here per se, but in real life) arguing with people about the candidates and having my head feel as if it might implode as so-and-so goes on about how excited they are about Obama because he's such an idealist... I've realized that I don't and can't make a bit of difference in the national scheme of things. And here, I'm preaching to the choir --whether we all agree or disagree at least we've read and we have an educated opinion.

But last night it hit me...my purpose. My goal. Something that might actually be achievable...

Ending the "zero tolerance" policy in schools.

I feel so strongly about this that it's consuming all my thoughts. I intend to make appointments to talk with a few administration types and I'll tell you more about it then, but suffice it to say that I believe the rise of bullying and school violence is a direct result of the zero tolerance policies that have been enacted around the country.

Zero tolerance has emboldened the "bad kids" and tied the hands of the "good" ones. It is the product of fear and lazy administrations and it denies children their basic right to self defense. Zero tolerance basically mandates "severe punishments for anyone involved in fighting, without regard to any details of the case. In practice this means that those who attack others and those who defend themselves are punished equally."

As I began to research this I was thrilled to see there are many websites detailing the insanity of the policy: This one was most compendious of the bunch --great if you need a bit of background on the subject...

"The notion that Zero Tolerance reduces fighting is flawed. It seems like these policies actually enable predators to attack more freely. Troublemakers usually don't care about getting punished -- those nerds getting beat up, on the other hand, generally have more respect for the school's policies and rules.

I'm probably being too cynical, but a part of me thinks that school administrators are well aware of this effect, and actively encourage it. After all, it's good to have someone who can unofficially keep things in line. Such troublemaking students could always be transferred to another school if they get too out of hand.

More realistically, it's probably just administrators being lazy and not wanting to deal with these issues. Almost every student has been violently harassed at some point in his life, and, many can relate to a story of school officials who just didn't care." (source)


Guess this means I finally have to join the PTA...

developing...

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