"If you live long enough, you'll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you'll be a better person. It's how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit."

William J. Clinton

I guess Clinton was not referring to the mistakes that minors can and will make, since the zero tolerance policy began during his administration. 

The policy ignores valuable life learning opportunities for a child.  The educational system, before the zero tolerance policy, had the opportunity to extend education beyond academics and teach children how to become better human beings by learning from their mistakes.  The zero tolerance policy ignores a child's need for compassion, understanding and common sense.      

Socioeconomic and environmental factors play a significant role in a child’s development.  If this is lacking at home or in a child’s neighborhood, the school has  missed an opportunity to help a child become a productive member of society.  The zero tolerance policy only reinforces what the child understands from his/her experiences outside of school, you are not worth a second chance.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon

The crime wave in schools was pretty much a media created event. I remember some studies that explored the law and order craze in comparing the attitudes of residents in innercity areas with higher crime rates with those of people in suburbs where the rates were very low. The people in the cities tended to have an approach that enabled them to get on with their daily lives without major anxiety about it. It was the people in the suburbs whose only contact with crime was the evening news and maybe a spot of fudging on their taxes who were flipping out. They tended to be in a panic over the black tide of violence that was coming to uproot their rose bushes and gawd knows what else. 

We now have the problem of six year old boys being labeled sexual predators because they kissed a six year old girl on the cheek. Meanwhile the schools are covering up the real sexual assault. It is all completely crazy. 

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg moderator

@Richard Lyon  sorry to be so slow here richard.. glitches :/ but yes -- exactly.. :Super-predators: and all the rest

Seeta moderator

@Richard Lyon  Thanks Richard -- Nancy is having computer trouble tonight but will be on later once resolved.  

Thanks to Nancy for this incredible, amazingly sourced piece.


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