Friday, April 4, 2008

Zero tolerance, or zero sense?

Randy Castro may look like a cute little 7 year-old boy. But really, he's a dangerous sexual predator who must be stopped. At least that's what his school thinks. Watch this report from GMA.

You heard right. Schools are labeling 4, 5, and 6 year-olds as "sexual harassers" for behavior they used to call "being a kid." I thought part of growing up was learning what is appropriate, and what isn't. I guess the school district is saying that the best way to teach a kid right and wrong is to have them busted by the cops.

Here's my "big picture" take on this: when you have kids in a herd, like a school, it's hard to treat them as individuals. That's why zero tolerance makes sense to some people--everyone gets equal treatment, and no judgment is required. The problem, of course, is that most situations require some judgment. With zero tolerance, you don't see the difference between a first grader smacking someone on the butt, and some kid acting out sexually against a schoolmate.

Zero tolerance is a result of schools being unable, or unwilling, to judge behavior on a case-by-case basis. It really is craziness.

(Note to homeschooling readers: Part of the recent California court decision that banned most homeschooling read that "A primary purpose of the public education system is to train school children in good a means of promoting the public welfare." I think you'll all agree that having cops drag away 6 year-olds is an important part of training children in good citizenship. I know we have Little MacGyver arrested a couple of times a month, just so he'll be a GREAT citizen...)

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