Power of Story Send a Tweet        
- Advertisement -
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

Criminalizing Children-The Absurdity of Zero Tolerance

By       Message Jamie Wendland       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...)  Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 11/10/15

Author 83637
Become a Fan
  (3 fans)


Zero Tolerance
(Image by The Gaurdian)
  Permission   Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

US attorney Peter Nunez didn't know what he was starting when he impounded sea vessels in San Diego containing any amount of drugs back in 1986.

It marked the beginning of controversial policies in society and schools--policies which have ultimately proven, after the era of law and order passed, to disproportionately target minorities, the poor, and children of single mothers.

It would violate civil rights in the name of security.

This was the beginning of what became known as zero tolerance policies.

- Advertisement -

Plagued with overwhelming violence, frightened public school educators were seeking a way to address guns, gangs and drugs in their schools. So, in 1989, districts in places like California enacted a zero tolerance policy, and students were facing mandatory expulsion for fighting, gang activity, or drugs.

By 1993, this snowballed to include minor infractions such as smoking or class disruption.

It became sweeping national policy in 1994 when the Clinton administration signed into law the Gun Free School Act. By 2000, of their own accord and before any research on the policy was even conducted, school districts expanded zero tolerance mandating suspension or expulsion for a myriad of petty offenses.

- Advertisement -

Finally, our schools were safer.

Or were they?

Meet five year old "Eric James:"

EJ, as he's called, has experienced his fair share of trauma in his short life, including a young single mother, poverty, multiple moves and an incarcerated biological father.

As if the poor kid didn't already have enough on his young plate, even more stress was added to his life when a primary caregiver and co-parent was in a freak, near fatal auto accident and left completely unable to care for him for nearly a year.

But, the school district didn't consider, nor care about, that. Like most public schools in the twenty first century, they view children as miniature, rational thinking adults, demanding absolute conformity and adherence to rules under strict implementation of a zero tolerance policy.

- Advertisement -

But, the problem with this policy and line of thought is that a five year old is not an adult, and does not think like an adult. This is unacceptable, however, and when children such as Eric James cannot meet these standards, they're severely punished.

EJ was suspended for a variety of zero tolerance offences, such as sitting under a table and refusing to come out. He was suspended for causing a minor tussle in the schoolyard, and received the most severe punishment and longest suspension when he claimed, at another child's prompting, that he had a butter knife in his backpack.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Jamie Wendland is a Sociologist known for well-researched political and cultural analysis. A contributing columnist for Russian Pravda.RU his articles and commentary also appear in a variety of international publications and journals. Feel free (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Bain Capital's grip on addiction--The profit behind 12-step treatment

How Jehovah's Witnesses Won Colin Kaepernick's Right to NOT Honor the Flag

A Right to Assemble Chaos--Why American Police Incite Riots

Medicating Childhood-An American Zombie Apocalypse

Subjective Injustice-Disorderly Conduct Laws In America

Democrat Embrace Of Repression-Why Mitt Romney Was Actually Better For The Liberal Agenda