Teaching Citizenship


It's hard to decide what part of this story is most infuriating.

Is it that a nine-year-old boy was booted out of school for taking a vitamin?

That downing Tic Tacs or M&Ms could result in the same punishment?

That one of the boy's classmates ratted him out to the teacher, who ratted him out to the principal?

Or that the school forced the child to write and sign a confession?

NEXT: The Art of Imprisonment

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  1. It then goes on to say “please do not send non-prescription medications to school,” cough drops, cough syrup, antacids etcetera.

    Yikes! As someone who suffered through raging heartburn as a teen, I would have been expelled from high school if the administrators knew I had a roll or Tums on me at all times.

    Then again, I don’t think I can count the times I saw students taking throat drops, breath mints, mydol (for the girls, of course) with a teacher’s knowledge and nothing happened. Also, I certainly never heard of any in-school black market for vitamins, aspirin, or Rolaids. (There was for cigarettes, and I heard rumors of harder stuff being sold.)

    Besides the constitution, common sense seems to have become a casuality of America’s pointless War On Drugs.

  2. The problem is, if you haven’t noticed, that most of ain’t to bright done here in Florida.

  3. If we would just allow the teachers to carry guns, none of this would ever happen.

  4. I think the most infuriating thing is that the whole damn column is hyperlinked.

  5. It’s time for Separation of School and State


  6. A school has an interest in treating its students like human beings only insofar as it has an interest in retaining them. And a public school has an interest in retaining its students only so long as they are either:

    (1) cheaper than the mean cost-per-pupil to educate, or

    (2) the child of parents who can create a disproportionate amount of trouble for the school administrators.

    It follows that the trend, unless actively fought, will be for public schools to focus on dull, obedient kids (easily identified by their compliance with bizarre and demeaning regulations like constant searches and drug tests) and be constantly beseiged by pushy, demanding parents. Everyone else will have been driven away.

    I’m not sure how one re-jiggers that incentive structure in a politically acceptable way, but it seems like it has to happen.

    On the other hand, maybe there is some understanding of this: Here in MA courts recently upheld measures that allow public schools to levy mandatory “bus fees” and by extension “activity fees” on all their students — bizarrely, it seems our public schools are beginning to privatize to meet their budget gaps. I doubt that they’ll see much improvement for it, though.

  7. Grant – good comments. I’m reminded of the episode of The Simpsons in which sarcastic comments by Lisa prompt a teacher and the lunchlady to push the “Independent Thought Alert” button.

  8. Zero Tolerance is out of control. It’s used because it’s easy. No common sense required. No decision making and, hence, a shield from lawsuits (“sorry ma’am, those are the rules”).

    I seem to recall that before the late 60’s, Public schools worked pretty well. We threw a bunch of money at them and they got worse. What happened?

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