Friday, June 15, 2007


Zero-tolerance policies are coming under fire. According to this Associated Press story, people are losing faith in the policies, most instituted as either platforms against drug use during the Reagan years or hastily implemented after the Columbine tragedy. Lawmakers in Texas, Mississippi and Utah are scaling back some of those zero-tolerance policies.

Since the Memorial shooting last October, the Joplin district has had a program called, "Just Tell It!", in which students are encouraged to pass on any threatening information they have to an adult, whether it's a parent, teacher, principal or guardian. In contrast, a task force chairman interviewed in the above story said that "kids are walking on eggshells" because of all the stiff punishments they face for seemingly innocent acts, such as bringing a butter knife to school.

Still, zero-tolerance policies seem to make sense to many when firearms are involved. In April, a North Middle School student brought a BB gun, which was manufactured to resemble a real gun, to school accidentally. Combined with a report of intruders, a lockdown was initiated. At the scene, parents seemed in favor of stricter, even-less tolerant punishments for such incidents.

Missouri lawmakers haven't announced any intents to study zero-tolerance policies. If they do, where should the line be drawn?

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