Remember the West Bengal boy who is teaching all those children in the rain and mud? I said at the end of that inspiring story that he wouldn’t survive in the school environment in the US.
My point is made for me by this School District in Delaware:
Finding character witnesses when you are 6 years old is not easy. But there was Zachary Christie last week at a school disciplinary committee hearing with his karate instructor and his mother’s fiancé by his side to vouch for him.
Zachary’s offense? Taking a camping utensil that can serve as a knife, fork and spoon to school. He was so excited about recently joining the Cub Scouts that he wanted to use it at lunch. School officials concluded that he had violated their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, and Zachary was suspended and now faces 45 days in the district’s reform school.
“It just seems unfair,” Zachary said, pausing as he practiced writing lower-case letters with his mother, who is home-schooling him while the family tries to overturn his punishment.
UNFAIR?? It’s criminal. This is the depth of ignorance, torturing this child for some insane zero-tolerance dogma. When will our school systems grow up? They have become so dull-witted that they can no longer make moral distinctions. In fact, they explicitly rule such differentiation off the turf:
Spurred in part by the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings, many school districts around the country adopted zero-tolerance policies on the possession of weapons on school grounds. More recently, there has been growing debate over whether the policies have gone too far.
What is there to debate in this case? A six year-old comes to school with his Cub Scout camping utensils and his reward for displaying enthusiasm is a month-and-a-half in the district’s reform school? What in the world do they do for real discipline cases?
I’ve visited those alternative classrooms…
– – – – – – – – –
…this child will be endangered if he’s put in one. The classes are usually (all the ones I’ve seen) reserved for truants, bullies, and sullen, oppositional adolescents. I’ll guarantee you that an institution as blind as this one has shown itself to be is not going to be watching out for this child. It’s too busy pasting over its own behind with safety stickers to notice any harm he may encounter.
According to these bureaucrats they had “no choice” because their policies are not based on intent. The child had a camping fork and knife gizmo, and knives aren’t allowed. No exceptions, no reasoning, just ignorant rules applied with a fundamentalist orthodoxy :
But the question on the minds of residents here is: Why do school officials not have more discretion in such cases?
“Zachary wears a suit and tie some days to school by his own choice because he takes school so seriously,” said Debbie Christie, Zachary’s mother, who started a Web site, helpzachary.com, in hopes of recruiting supporters to pressure the local school board at its next open meeting on Tuesday. “He is not some sort of threat to his classmates.”
Of course he’s not a threat. The bureaucrats are the threat. Zachary is simply an easy target for some overpaid pen pusher in Delaware. Get this:
Still, some school administrators argue that it is difficult to distinguish innocent pranks and mistakes from more serious threats, and that the policies must be strict to protect students.
“…it is difficult to distinguish innocent pranks and mistakes…”. Why is that so hard? Because studying to become a school official erases your ability to make judgment calls, perhaps? The rule book rules, and common sense left the room a long, long time ago.
Here’s an excuse so lame it has no feet on which to stand:
“There is no parent who wants to get a phone call where they hear that their child no longer has two good seeing eyes because there was a scuffle and someone pulled out a knife,” said George Evans, the president of the Christina district’s school board. He defended the decision, but added that the board might adjust the rules when it comes to younger children like Zachary.
Notice that this decision has been butted up to the top of the food chain in Christina and the wisdom isn’t any thicker on the ground up there than it is in the lower reaches of this Inferno.
Hey, Joe Biden. This is your state. Come on up and talk some sense into these people…Oh, never mind. I forgot: it’s Joe Biden. That is one man who can’t afford to give anyone a piece of his mind.
We need to abolish “No Child Left Behind” and use the monies to create a program called “Academic Horse Manure Remediation”.
To protect the children.