Skip

Sigh.
April 3, 2008 12:11 AM   Subscribe


 
Somebody needs to point out that zero tolerance == intolerance and it isn't something you should brag about.
posted by srboisvert at 12:50 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am not alone! someone else also reads the hometown Daily Record ....but if you think American schools are cruel, Jersey ranks
posted by hortense at 1:05 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between drug warriors and child molesters.

so true.
posted by JimmyJames at 1:13 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


A friend and I in middle school plotted a bunch of different ideas to kill this one kid who we didn't like for some reason. One of mine was to put a poisoned thumbtack in his chair. We also had a pyro club. We sure were evil.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:39 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe I just find this whole situation bizarre due to me spending most of my free time in public school playing Magic: The Gathering in a vacant, unlocked classroom.
posted by tehloki at 2:12 AM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Now, we'll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer's Gang. Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood."

Everybody was willing. So Tom got out a sheet of paper that he had wrote the oath on, and read it. It swore every boy to stick to the band, and never tell any of the secrets; and if anybody done anything to any boy in the band, whichever boy was ordered to kill that person and his family must do it, and he mustn't eat and he mustn't sleep till he had killed them and hacked a cross in their breasts, which was the sign of the band. And nobody that didn't belong to the band could use that mark, and if he did he must be sued; and if he done it again he must be killed. And if anybody that belonged to the band told the secrets, he must have his throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name blotted off of the list with blood and never mentioned again by the gang, but have a curse put on it and be forgot forever.

Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and asked Tom if he got it out of his own head. He said, some of it, but the rest was out of pirate-books and robber-books, and every gang that was high-toned had it.
posted by honest knave at 2:13 AM on April 3, 2008 [26 favorites]


Meh. My second grade teacher tied my left hand to my belt loop so I'd be forced to use my right hand when writing. She claimed that the left was 'the devil's hand'. You've got to love the bible belt!

In retrospect, I think a quick little strip search would've been preferable to child bondage.

Whom should I sue?

/derail
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:13 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sigh.

Nothing worse than zero tolerance drug-free schools where they take the policy seriously.

Man, there were so many drugs available at my schools in the 1970s. I knew at least a dozen kids who carried hash, pot, quaaludes, crank, and whatever other random shit a kid could get his hands on. Sometimes when I was laying out, I would go back to school just to score. Those hippie teachers left us kids alone. There'd be the occassional bust, everything would dry up, and then the rains would come again and make the fields lush. School was cool.

I can't imagine the utter torture of being a student today.
posted by three blind mice at 3:24 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The "balanced" nature of this post embodies the adverserial relationship we take for granted between non-elite children (i.e. people) and the State.

The dominant public-school paradigm these days is "school as jail," where students are incapacitated and surveilled rather than nurtured and developed. Pre-jail, as it were.

We're working from the assumption that if children aren't controlled sufficiently, they'll blossom into the little crack dealers and Columbine murderers they are "essentially." It's the bureaucratization of hopelessness.
posted by facetious at 4:00 AM on April 3, 2008 [13 favorites]


Most of my friends would be in jail if they were school-age today.

(love the tags)
posted by Skorgu at 4:01 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hooray! It looks like I accidentally made a good post! Favorites for everyone!
posted by tehloki at 5:09 AM on April 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


If that was my daughter, they wouldn't need to be looking at the students to find some hot gun-on-administrator corrective action.

Probably just as well I don't have kids.
posted by localroger at 5:41 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, there were so many drugs available at my schools in the 1970s.

Seriously. And in my high school in the 80s I was actually once the lone person in a group to DECLINE doing drugs with a teacher. A teacher who, might I add, still works at the school and now in his old age has declared a zero tolerance policy on drugs. Not to mention that my english composition teacher was married to one of his former students and long after I graduated, my favorite math teacher (he even came to my lame 16th birthday party) ended up trashing his career after 20 years by coming to work drunk and fondling a girl's boobs.

A third of my teachers (including those three) expected us to address them by their first names at all times too, which always felt weird to me. But what can you expect when you go to a high school that offers surfing as a P.E. class, I guess.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:19 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, those Abu Grhaib and Bagram prison torture-jailers are back from Iraq and teaching in our public schools. Too soon? Oh well, wait a couple of years and those chickens might eventually turn up in our school systems.
posted by vhsiv at 6:41 AM on April 3, 2008


Yep, there are bad teachers, shitty schools, and idiots in educational administration....

Now that we're done with that topic, shouldn't we just move this right into a discussion about bad cops.
posted by HuronBob at 6:41 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The concept of zero tolerance to drugs actually being enforced is really quite alien to me, probably because my high school was pretty bad at enforcing just about anything. I was going to school in the nineties and there were many a happy day had drifting around school in some state of intoxication. Sixth form in particular was quite blissful.

I actually nipped back recently to talk to some of my old teachers and steal some sketch books. When I went into my old art room there were a few kids standing around not working and my former Art teacher was out on the fire escape smoking pot.

This did make stealing the sketch books easier.
posted by emperor.seamus at 6:45 AM on April 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


So, those Abu Grhaib and Bagram prison torture-jailers are back from Iraq and teaching in our public schools.

Nope. Today's teacher/administrator is the kid that went to school with me and miss lynnster who saw what happens when teachers allow that shit to go on unmolested. Zero-tolerance is an over-reaction, but it is certainly a reaction.

Pity.

And those "Abu Grhaib and Bagram prison torture-jailers" are more than likely to be every bit as permissive as the Vietnam veterans who were teaching me. Those guys were the coolest.
posted by three blind mice at 6:58 AM on April 3, 2008


So, homeschool then. Works for me.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:22 AM on April 3, 2008


A friend and I in middle school plotted a bunch of different ideas to kill this one kid who we didn't like for some reason. One of mine was to put a poisoned thumbtack in his chair. We also had a pyro club. We sure were evil.

My group hatched a sinister plan that involved saving up a bunch of peach pits and then somehow tricking our foes into eating them. (We never really worked out that part of the plan.) Criminal masterminds we were not.
posted by LeeJay at 8:30 AM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yet another evil seven-year old.
posted by binturong at 8:52 AM on April 3, 2008


Well, since we've given up on educating children and there are no blue-collar jobs any more, it's increasingly important to condition kids early so they'll be prepared for their future behind bars.

Next step: meet the new school uniform, a bright orange jumpsuit.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:34 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Clearly, the only way to deal with the menace of children is to lock them into individual cages, heads strapped so they can only face one way. This will eliminate all forms of touching and eye contact which may be construed as inappropriate by someone, somewhere, at some time.
posted by sandraregina at 10:30 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


She claimed that the left was 'the devil's hand'.

Well, it certainly is sinister.
posted by quin at 10:47 AM on April 3, 2008


I've never been a fan of the reduced constitutional rights for students in school settings. I understand in loco parentis, but I remember being particularly galled by quite a bit of the "Zero Tolerance" sort of shit when I was in school, along with the restrictions on First Amendment rights, etc.
posted by klangklangston at 11:25 AM on April 3, 2008


In grade 2 we flipped a shopping cart over on the gravel field, and loaded the top with rocks. We lured one of our cohorts to enter said upturned shopping cart and locked the rear side with a broken hockey stick that we found.

We left the guy there until the teacher asked where he was.
posted by porpoise at 12:04 PM on April 3, 2008


So, homeschool then. Works for me.

Not so much for me. The drug problem there is even worse than at school.

Hey, I am the total opposite of "just say no," but I've been around enough dopers and wannabes to know drug use isn't a fabric everyone can wear well. Oh well.

The question seems to be is it OK to have drugs available on a peer-to-peer basis in schools? Because without a zero tolerance policy or something very close to it, the school candy store remains open. Nothing short of draconian measures would have hindered me in any way.

I'm for preserving constitutional rights of students and I accept that this means that - as the framers surely intended - dope will be more easily available. It's one of the tradeoffs of liberty and liberty is a beautiful thing.
posted by three blind mice at 12:19 PM on April 3, 2008


From biturong's link above:
The Virginia Department of Education reported that 255 elementary students were suspended last year for offensive sexual touching, or "improper physical contact against a student." In Maryland, 166 elementary school children were suspended last year for sexual harassment, including three preschoolers, 16 kindergartners and 22 first-graders, according to the State Department of Education. Statistics for the District were not available.

In 2006, a kindergartner in Hagerstown, Md., was accused of sexual harassment after pinching a female classmate's buttocks. A 4-year-old in Texas was given an in-school suspension after a teacher's aide accused him of sexual harassment for pressing his face into her breasts when he hugged her.
I have two preschoolers, a boy and a girl of the same age; when I picked them up yesterday, they were on the ground with another little girl of their age, and they were all pulling foam pads over themselves and pretending they were sleeping. Should I be worried that they might be sleeping together, and that my kids might be committing incest?

geez, what is with these f'ing people, especially that teacher's aide!
posted by davejay at 12:56 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Zero-tolerance is a nonsensical substitution for (apparently, no longer) common sense. Strip searches over ibuprofen? Kids not allowed to carry rescue inhalers with them at all times? Isn't it about time for the pendulum to swing the other way? With all the pharmaceutical companies promoting their latest drugs as the cure-all for all life's ills, you'd think their lobbyists could have a go at these policies.

Also, way to go newspaper for inserting irrelevant information in the story intended to affect readers' opinions of interview subjects:
"They were so young, I just couldn't believe it," said Euleathia Harris, 50, who lives in a public housing complex near the school. "I wouldn't think anything like that would happen in little ol' Waycross. I guess if it can happen in the big cities, it can happen here."
What makes those bold words relevant to the story in any way? Nothing. It's just code for "poor and possibly a minority."
posted by notashroom at 1:01 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


What the hell was this guy thinking? Just basic protocol you have to have a female at the very least present if not performing the actual search.
I’m sure the taxpayers will love shelling out millions of dollars for the lawsuit this is certain to incur.
And aren’t young kids taught that only they have a right to their bodies?
Bit at odds innit?
There’s always some nutball thinks a policy means he’s got authority to do all kinds of stupid things that oversteps other people’s autonomy.
Doesn’t make it a good or bad policy of course. I’m not a big fan of zero tolerance.
But damn, in what world did he think he was authorized to strip search a young person without any oversight to his actions at all?
If you’re absolutely constrained to do that by the policy (stupid if so) call a female nurse or teacher or call a parent or call the cops and have them bring a team to search.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:09 PM on April 3, 2008


notashroom, that struck me as well. With a added whiff of "these things happen at schools that are in public housing-neighborhoods."

Regarding the first link, I hope that the parents at this school tell their kids to not be afraid to stand up to these policies. I want to go hug my fourteen-year-old quasi-niece and tell her that if any school official tries to strip-search her, it is NOT OKAY.
posted by desuetude at 3:20 PM on April 3, 2008


What makes those bold words relevant to the story in any way? Nothing. It's just code for "poor and possibly a minority."

What makes them relevant to you? Nothing. What makes them relevant to the readers of the local newspaper? They know where that woman lives. In fact, most newspapers include either the address or general description of the place where someone lives. It goes along with age as one of those physical descriptors that adds a bit of veracity.

Why not give the address, then? Well, Harris may have asked them not to. Or they may have interviewed her away from her home, and she may not have given more of an answer than "I live over there," or something.

In short, stop trying to project your boogeymen onto the press.
posted by klangklangston at 3:23 PM on April 3, 2008


I wonder if they've already decided how to spend the millions they'll likely win for that strip search.

And I wonder if the stink of hints of child molestation will follow around all those involved for a few years.
posted by chimaera at 5:11 PM on April 3, 2008


Public Schools definitely need to a few changes.
posted by TheSpot at 7:03 PM on April 3, 2008


so would some of you who have a choice remind me why you send your children there? oh yeah: *our* school isn't that bad; little Johnny loves his teacher this year; if we don't send them there, they turn into poorly socialized weirdos...

because i'd surely rather have a kid who wants to torture his teacher than someone who loves Lord of the Rings just a little too much.

It's the bureaucratization of hopelessness.

this is exactly right. it's not about "some teachers/administrators" or "some schools"--it's about the whole damn thing. The Mess We're In is not individualized very much by district, or even too much by class or region. sure, some schools suck worse in one area or another, and some prison guards... er.. *teachers* are more nazi-inspired than others. but there's a pervasive problem that has affected big suburban rich schools just as much as urban poor ones--in increasing doses since the very beginning.

we've now become inured to Schools As Jails--since somehow we'd rather have that than all the things we've been trained to fear. it's a self-feeding loop--the more teachers reflect the insanity of the system they work in, approved by parents for the most part, the more students react purely as inmates do.

i watch it unfold every day i foray into the schools as a substitute. inmates behave in predictable ways. there's rules to be got around, an education to pretend to get, and large scale efforts to drown out what's going on one way or another. eventually some pig does something really disgusting to a prisoner and everyone gets upset. next thing you know, there's a whole bunch of droop-drawered, pissed off kids on the roof while the place burns down and the press screams for a lockdown.

if you thought school was mind-numbing or a joke or screwed up when you were a kid, i welcome you to see through my eyes on any working day.

you might be completely against the idea of homeschooling. in this forum, i guess i feel freed to say what i have to bite my tongue about in the Real World: begin to look at the System as it stands as Optional. listen to your kid. pay attention to that light in their eyes, notice when and if it goes out, and realize that It Isn't Necessary. if we can't foster the love of learning in this world of unprecedented educational choice, then we *must* do things differently.
posted by RedEmma at 7:19 PM on April 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


What makes them relevant to you? Nothing. What makes them relevant to the readers of the local newspaper? They know where that woman lives. In fact, most newspapers include either the address or general description of the place where someone lives. It goes along with age as one of those physical descriptors that adds a bit of veracity.

Why not give the address, then? Well, Harris may have asked them not to. Or they may have interviewed her away from her home, and she may not have given more of an answer than "I live over there," or something.

In short, stop trying to project your boogeymen onto the press.
posted by klangklangston at 6:23 PM on April 3


A "general description of the place where someone lives" could easily be covered by "who lives near the school" or "who lives in an apartment near the school" or "who lives on Jones Drive." Anyone who actually lives in the area will get all the information they need from that. Harris wasn't a party to the incident, which is normally the only people whose addresses may be provided in a story. She's simply a local asked for a quote. The only reason to include "public housing" in the description is to color people's perceptions. It's editorializing on the sly.

I don't know exactly what boogeyman you're accusing me of projecting, but this was actually discussed (and discouraged) in my college journalism classes. It's an approach to reporting that goes beyond adding color, humanizing, or providing relevant information into manipulating the perception of the reader. The story isn't about income, class, housing projects, recession, mortgage crisis, unemployment, or any similar subject where the information might actually be relevant to the story.
posted by notashroom at 7:16 AM on April 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


« Older Hammer Time   |   Remember the Alamo, but don't forget Poleland Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post