Marches on Zero Tolerance as Zero Tolerance Marches On

When a 15-year-old Wake County, N.C. student was roughed up, handcuffed and suspended for cutting a lunchline, eight students decided they had enough. Read about it (here.)
And, if you want to know when all this madness started, read about it (here.)
But here’s a preview:
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TEXAS WATCH’EM

In Texas, a state that seems to be bucking for its own chapter in Bad For You, a school district finally dropped its plans to track students with computer chip-embedded RFID cards. Apparently, privacy and student objections weren’t the reason so much as teachers found they wasted too much time tracking down wayward kids. Luckily the school has another solution:
Unfortunately, the district had won a court battle declaring the cards didn’t violate students’ right to privacy or religion, paving the way for other schools to give it a try. But the student who brought the lawsuit, Andrea Hernandez, was overjoyed at the recent development: “I’m just really glad they discontinued it and no other student had to go through what I went through.” Click here to find out exactly what she did go through.

JAIL & BAIL vs THE PROPER SCALE

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at 2.54.37 PMIt’s seems location is everything when it comes to terrorist tweets and punishment-worthy posts. In Texas, Leagues of Legends player, Justin Carter, age 19, is just now getting out the cooler, thanks to an anonymous individual who posted his $500,000(!) bail. Justin’s crime was posting “Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head,” in a post-Leagues of Legends online argument . “I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts.” Justin claims it was a joke (admittedly not a very funny one). Well, if he wasn’t “messed up in the head” then he probably is now after the abuse he suffered in his almost four months in jail. Click here for the details of that ordeal and the punishment he still faces for his facebook flub.

Meanwhile, cooler heads seemed to have prevailed in Chicago (it is quite a bit north of Texas after all) when “Mark” a 15 year-old high school sophomore threatened, via tweet, to shoot everyone in his hometown and “get away wit it just like Zimmerman,” He deleted the tweet after a quick backlash and asked “Why you taking it serious.”The local police seem to have approached it with just the right amount of seriousness, bringing “Mark” to the station and letting him go after questioning. “There is no credibility to the threat. He has no weapons and no access to weapons,” a law enforcement official said.

SUSPENSION SUSPENDED

Remember the story from the BAD FOR YOU post on June 6th? A kindergartner brought his cowboy cap gun to class and after two-hours of interrogation, he walked out of the principal’s office with a 10-day suspension (for “possession of a look-alike gun”) and peed-in pants (because he was scared).

Well, he can stop shaking: the county school chief reversed “in its entirety” the boy’s suspension after “carefully considering both the needs of the student and those of the school system.” The boy’s attorney also called for the kindergartner’s criminal record to be “wiped clean.” He argued that the boy was clueless when the conduct code was presented because he did not know how to read and could not “grasp the gravity of the rules.”

The codes were handed out to students the first week of school in the form of coloring books.

SCHOOLS OUT…OF CONTROL

Since school will be ending soon, let’s bid farewell with a collection of some recent “War on Fun” stories from the front lines of education:

School officials “grilled” a kindergartener for bringing his “cowboy-style cap gun” to show a friend. During the two hour interrogation, the culprit peed his pants. In addition to wet underwear, he received a 10-day suspension for “possession of a look-alike gun.”

A 6-year-old Massachusetts student caused “quite a disturbance” on the school bus with his “tiny plastic toy gun.”

Accused of “brandishing a weapon” at school, one 10-year-old in Virginia wound up fingerprinted and photographed by police, then sent before a judge twice. “How can you go from a toy gun to a criminal charge…?” asked Tina Hone, founder of the Coalition of The Silence, a pro-student advocacy group in Northern Virginia.

A Nerf gun which fired foam “bullets” was responsible for the lockdown of two high schools in the Bronx, N.Y.

Drawing “what appeared to be weapons” in a notebook lead to the arrest of one New Jersey high school student.

Another high school student was suspended for using a photo of a gun as his school-issued computer background photo.

And the list goes on…

Local Student Suspended for Gun Gesture”

“Kindergarten Student Suspended for Pink Bubble Gun Threat in Pennsylvania”

“School Confiscates Third-Grader’s Cupcakes Topped with Toy Soldiers”

“Philadelphia Girl Scolded, Searched for Pulling Out Paper Gun at School”

“Virginia 2nd-Grader Suspended for Pretending His Pencil was a Gun”

“Maryland First-Grader Suspended for Making Gun Gesture with Hand”

“Tamaqua 7th Grader Suspended for Pointing Finger ‘Gun’ at Classmates”

“6-Year-Old Expelled for Bringing Plastic Gun to School”

This last one has a happy ending. After giving “careful thought and consideration for the safety of the school community,” the South Carolina school superintendent allowed the expelled girl to return to class.

A Maryland boy also got some good news…maybe. It depends on your opinion about the pro-gun group the National Rifle Association, who gave 8-year-old Joshua Welch a lifetime membership to their organization. Josh had been suspended earlier in the school year for unintentionally biting his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. The NRA, seeing all the media attention the story was getting, thought it was a great idea to honor Josh (though he’s still unsure of exactly what the group is). Along with the membership came a $550 certificate, which the boy handed to his parents “and returned to playing games on a cellphone.”

Another response to the Pop Tart incident came from Maryland Senator J. B. Jennings, who introduced a bill in Congress to try to bring the public school system’s Zero Tolerance polices under control. Readers not familiar with the term “Zero Tolerance” can take a look at the explanation from BAD FOR YOU (lavishly illustrated in the comic below).

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While the actual book won’t be out until November, you can see the original BAD FOR YOU map by clicking on “The Book” section above this website’s banner; the map is the first image at top left. Everything listed above has happened after the map was completed.

You can expect more Zero Tolerance roundups in the future.