We have previously followed the suspensions and discipline of students under zero tolerance policies that are used by teachers to justify zero judgment or responsibility. I have long criticized zero tolerance policies that have led to suspensions and arrests of children (here, here and here and here and here and here). Now this insanity has gone insane after a Colorado school district called police because a 12-year-old boy flashing a clearly toy gun in his own home. While the teacher told police the orange gun marked “Zombie Killer” was clearly a toy, the police went to the home of Isiah Elliot on a welfare check and the boy who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities was suspended. Does that make sense as opposed to a simple call to the parents?
We have been dealing with the insanity of zero tolerance rules for years. Here is a prior column on the subject (and here). Children have been suspended or expelled for drawing stick figures or wearing military hats or bringing Legos shaped like guns or even having Danish in the shape of a gun. Various criminal and disciplinary cases were opened for finger guns. Despite the public outcry over the completely irrational and abusive application of zero tolerance rules, administrators and teachers continue to apply them blindly. If you do not have to exercise judgment, you can never been blamed for any failure. Conversely, even when the public outcry results in a reversal, teachers and administrators never seem punished with the same vigor for showing no judgment or logic in punishing a child.
Now the insanity has gone virtual. Rather than change the policy when it shifted to virtual learning, the school just blindly continued to treat kids at home like they were in the classroom.
The school does not see what everyone is upset about. The Grand Mountain school said in a statement: “We follow all school board policies whether we are in-person learning or distance learning. We take the safety of all our students and staff very seriously. Safety is always our number one priority.”
Safety? It was a toy gun in the home of a kid. They were so concerned for the child that they suspended him.