Years of Absurd Outcomes (and Maybe Real Competition?) Prompt Reconsideration of "Zero Tolerance" School Policies


Today the Los Angeles Times explores the possibility that states and school districts might finally be easing off on its various "zero tolerance" policies that have frequently led to absurd, overwrought responses to normal child misbehavior.

What sexy is

The trigger in Colorado was the recent suspension of 6-year-old D'Avonte Meadows for singing LMFAO's "[I'm] Sexy and I Know It" to a girl. The song, a vicious indictment of delusional overconfidence (well, that's my reading of it – no doubt scholars will be debating the subtext for centuries to come), prompted his elementary school to label Meadows a sexual harasser:

One week after D'Avonte was suspended, Colorado lawmakers passed a bill easing disciplinary policies in schools.

Colorado joins a growing number of states rethinking zero-tolerance policies requiring expulsion or suspension for behavior or actions that might once have meant a stern talking to or a visit to the principal's office. Now lawmakers want to give educators flexibility.

In California the Legislature is considering nine bills aimed at limiting school discipline. One would require schools that suspend more than 25% of their students to adopt strategies aimed at reducing behavior that leads to suspension.

"Schools are too prone to send kids home from school — by imposing out-of-school suspensions — even for behavior that doesn't pose a safety threat, and the Legislature has made it too easy," said Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) in a recent news release. He's written several of the bills.

The Times story documents a number of other absurd outcomes that have come from zero tolerance policies (we have reported plenty here in our Brickbat section if you feel the urge to facepalm) and points out groups like the American Bar Association and American Psychological Association question the effectiveness of the policies.

But the Times story doesn't delve into two other significant developments in the education market that may be contributing to administrators and lawmakers looking for reasons to stop kicking kids out of school:

The rise of charter schools: The Colorado League of Charter Schools lists more than 150 charter schools in their state.  California has nearly 1,000 charter schools serving more than 400,000 students. Gone are the days where school administrations could push unreasonable policies onto families and students and ignore the outcries. In the Times story, D'Avonte's mother discusses the possibility of transferring her boy to another school rather than continuing to tolerate the nonsense. Each kid that switches from public to charter school costs that public school money. Education unions have been fighting charter schools tooth and nail, but they are losing. And those losses lead to …

We are out of money: In the current economic environment, schools simply can't afford to be kicking kids out. School funding is tied to attendance. Every suspension, every expulsion results in a loss of school funding for that student's absence. With layoffs on the line, the schools need adolescent butts sitting at every desk. The pressure to pull back on suspensions was mounting in California even before Dickinson's bills. Truancy sweeps are common occurrences California, and school administrators are not shy about admitting they're partly about capturing that daily funding.

Now, if only the NYPD would take note.

NEXT: Jay Beeber on L.A.'s Foolish Ban on Plastic Bags

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  1. I am against zero tolerance policies as much as anyone. But it is awfully hard to argue against a zero tolerance LMFAO policy.

    1. Incorrect. They are the voice of my generation. You squares just can't handle progress.

      1. I knew there was a reason why your generation is known as generation retard.

      2. LMFAO's entire reason for existing is to make people think the Black Eyed Peas maybe don't suck so bad after all.

        1. The big difference is that the Black Eyed Peas take themselves seriously which just makes me want to bash in the face of that douche with the fake glasses. I can forgive a lot if it is presented as a laugh.

          1. Ok. Maybe I have misjudged. If their entire purpose is to make the Black Eyed Peas look even more ridiculous than they normally do, then maybe they do have a valid purpose for existing.

    2. LMFAO over Lady Gaga any day.

      Neither would be my preferred outcome, of course.


        1. PA PA PA PA PA PA PA PA PA
          MO MO MO MO MO MO MO MO MO
          PA PA PA PA PA PA PA PA PA

      2. I would take Gaga. I can more easily ignore crappy techno.

        1. John would poke her face 😉

    3. While they certainly aren't any kind of great music, I do find them pretty funny. But I've heard that song about once and I imagine it gets old fast.

      1. My wife thinks it's hilarious and used to watch the video all the time. She gets a pass because she's 8 months pregnant but that shit got old after the first time I watched it.

    4. I find their lyrics awesome because I live in a college town where there are a couple thousand douchebags who don't get the joke and take them seriously. Also, they have ridiculously crunchy beats. Pretty much what some of the house music I was listening to in the late '90s wanted to grow up to be.

      1. Right Said Fred did it first and did it better.

        But LMFAO does have to get some credit for putting the snark back in music.

      2. Seriously WTF..."crunchy beats"? Does that word have meaning, and does it apply here?

  2. You can't do away with "zero tolerance"!
    That means administrators will be forced to make decisions and be accountable for them!
    That's the whole point of "zero tolerance"!
    When you're just following policy guidelines you can't be sued!

  3. My 8 year old son has moved past LMFAO, he's working on James Brown's "Sex Machine".

    Ladies and Gentlemen, there are seven acknowledged wonders of the world and you are about to witness the eighth...

    blond haired blue eyed kid does a backflip and spin into splits while wearing a cape...

    ... the Godson of Soul...

    1. That is awesome.

    2. Your son doesn't know karate, but he sure knows crazy.

      1. Yeah, you want to make sure he doesn't go too far down the James Brown road.

        1. Introduce him to Otis Redding or some of the Stacks records. Just make sure he stays away from the George Clinton records. You really don't want him to start calling down the mother ship.

          1. I saw George Clinton and P-Funk when I was about 17. It was a formative experience.

            1. See what I mean Zeb?

              1. You're on the straight and narrow, and then you see a funk show that has a contortionist wearing only a diaper. It's straight to the gutter from there.

          2. Stax, not "Stacks".

        2. As it is now, I'm figuring it's the Senate or prison.

    3. My step daughter, at age 10, was nuts about Sir Mix-a-lot's I Like Big Butts. One thing you don't want to hear a just turned 10-year-old girl ask is, "What does 'you get sprung' mean?"

  4. What about suspending kids and calling the cops when a kid brings a small toy gun to school? Is there still a government-mandated skullfucking for any kid that does that?

    1. I've responded to scores of school complaints, but they have never called where I work... That I know of... For something THAT stupid. It's not a crime, so we wouldn't do anything

      1. Or like handcuffing a kid and taking him away for doodling on a desk, right?

        1. depending on the facts and circumstances, that SOUNDS ridiculously extreme.

          however, it's also completely disanalogous since vandalism IS a crime. compare/contrast

          any RATIONAL school district would give a kid a warning/admin and advise them that future destruction/vandalism of school property would result in possible criminal referral.

          i've never heard of that happening where i work either. i could imagine SOME circ's where it would be justified. iow, the kid was given several warnings and continued to vandalize desks

  5. In California the Legislature is considering nine bills aimed at limiting school discipline. One would require schools that suspend more than 25% of their students to adopt strategies aimed at reducing behavior that leads to suspension.

    Whoa whoa whoa. There are schools suspending more than 25% of their students? What. The. FUCK?

    1. I'm assuming it means 25% of students that get into trouble. So say 100 get into trouble, and they'll suspend 25 of them, and give out other punishments to the other 75.

    2. Or it could be what you thought it was. California, dude.

    3. Philadelphia is around that number.

  6. Speaking of schools, the day's most depressing blog comment. The guy's profile says he is a PHD astro physics student at Washington State. I have no reason to think he is lying.

    Gabriel Hanna said...

    The bulk of the students in the introductory college physics classes I teach cannot do basic math or read at the college level.

    They cannot do algebra, they cannot add fractions. They use a calculator to multiply by ten--or one.

    They cannot read more than the nouns and verbs in a sentence. You have to write sentences in chronological order because they cannot figure out time order from prepositions. They will not, and in many cases cannot, read their textbooks.

    Almost every one was educated in a public school.

    5/23/12 12:03 PM

    1. Yeah, but private schools, like, aren't government schools. Also, money. Your argument has been soundly defeated. NO, REALLY. I DEFEATED IT. NANANANANNANA.

      /Smug public union enthusiast.

    2. I did a stint teaching part time at a pretty highly regarded Pharmacy school. I taught freshman algebra/calc and physics lab.

      And I can 100% back up what this guy said.

      I got into trouble with my boss after I started deducting points for bad grammar on lab write-ups.

      I had one girl who was flunking algebra and who couldn't add fractions with different denominators lose it in class; she had failed the second exam and was insisting her method ( which in effect produced the following absurdity 1 + 1/x = 1 / (1 + x) ) was correct, burst into tears and say "I'm good in math, I always get A's in math!"

      The sad thing weren't the lazy bums who didn't give a shit. My heart broke at the kids who were busting their asses while struggling to jump the unnecessary hurdles that miseducation had thrown in their path. My heart broke for the kids who had been fooled into thinking they had the ability to complete a rigorous course of study due to the grade inflation and lack of rigor of their high school teachers and stepped into an arena they weren't suited to be in.

      After a while I just couldn't do it anymore.

      1. That is what is sad. I find it hard to believe that the girl in your class couldn't have been a decent student had she just known enough to try. But you can't get better if no one tells you when you are bad. Your students were being cheated.

        1. That's pretty much how it is where I live. The local university has this pre-law program and they send interns to our office all the time. Not that law school is ridiculously hard but most of these kids can't read/write at anything approaching college level. Yet, they are being pushed to go to law school where they really have no chance.

    3. It's hard to take those type of anecdotal comments seriously. Sure, some of them are real morons. But the "bulk"? I have a hard time accepting that, regardless of how piss-poor I feel our education system is.

      1. See Tarran above.

      2. I would say 20% of my students came into the semester with an adequate mathematical background.

        I would say about 40% knew less math than I did in 8th grade. It was that ugly.

        As far as the writing ability goes, easily 80% of the papers had atrociously bad grammar. The thing about grammar is that is forces one to think properly. Often, I couldn't' figure out what they were saying, and they couldn't figure out what they were saying! It was like someone threw subjects, verbs, adjectives and direct objects in a blender pureed them and then dumped the smelly mess on a page.

        Frustratingly, most of these kids wanted to learn. Given a free hand, I could have gotten them up to snuff in three years. The faculty used to joke morbidly that by the time this generation was in charge of their medications, hopefully they would be dead.

        The public school system in the United States has had a collapse in productivity every bit as severe as what happened when Lenin took over Russia to its factories.

        1. Ive been surprised at how well most of my trainees read and write.

          1. ME WANT BE POLICE

            1. honestly, i was pleasantly surprised. granted, my last trainee was a former school teacher with an MA in English Literature of all things, but in general, the writing i have seen has been pretty good.

          2. ...says the man who can't apostrophize very well.

            1. Holy shit. I read police reports everyday and they are without a doubt the most horrific pieces of writing I have ever encountered. I have come to the conclusion that being literate is a disqualification during the application process.

              1. and i would suspect, like many other things, that it VARIES from agency to agency. i am speaking for my agency. the PAC NW and Seattle in particular happens to be better educated on average than most other jurisdictions, so i would suspect the average cop is as well.

                i would also suspect that for agencies that require college degrees, etc. (i'm not naming my agency, but many do or something similar) e.g. Portland PD.

                1. ...says the man who can't capitalize very well.

        2. The public school system in the United States has had a collapse in productivity every bit as severe as what happened when Lenin took over Russia to its factories.

          With grammar like this, you really aren't qualified to take points off for grammar.

    4. From my limited experience with the kids these days, it's definitely true of the bottom 50%. But I have a hard time believing it wasn't always true. I think the biggest difference between the stupid kids now and the stupid kids of 30 years ago is that the morons didn't go to college back then.

      1. Exactly. If you were a dipshit who didn't even pay attention in math class, you sure as shit didn't go to college and try to do anything that required math.

      2. I have college-aged kids (as well as kindergarteners)and I think Warty's right on this one. (Blind hog, acorn, etc.)


      3. That's a good point. Thinking back to highschool, we had several AP calculus classes and definitely a lot of people graduated with quite adequate basic math skills. But I'd bet that nearly half of the class was pretty useless in math too. But not many of those people were going to college.
        I think that most people have also always been awful writers.

        1. Most people are awful writers, but there's awful and then there's awful. Most people's writing could use proofreading and copy editing, but at least I can figure out what they mean. My students' writings, I often couldn't even do that with -- except when they were plagiarized, and often not even then, because the student had altered the material without understanding what the original was saying.

      4. that the morons didn't go to college back then

        That sounds like the fairest explanation. But doesn't that shift the focus from inadequate public schools to over-subsidization of post-secondary education? I think that's important. We (libertarians) may instinctively want to lash out at public education, but if the results are truly flat over the last 30 years (which I believe is true), then the real issue at hand is not failing schools (they still suck, but what's new?). Rather, it's the subsidization angle which has changed radically in the last 30 years.

        1. The people being fucked by public school are the average students. The smartest kids are going to succeed despite the schooling and are going to be heading to college with AP credit for at least Calculus I if not Calculus II. Somebody who still hasn't taken algebra by the time they get to college shouldn't be majoring in STEM in the first place.

        2. Really, I blame the college party movies of the '80s for making everyone want to go to college.

          1. Animal House. That defined college for two generations.

        3. My wife has only been speaking English for about eight years (and still has lots of problems), but she still gets better grades in her writing-oriented classes than many of her domestically-educated native speaker classmates.

      5. Warty's explanation is intuitively sound, but as a counter-argument I'll mention a quip from my junior high algebra teacher. In 1979 (my class) he commented that just ten years prior about 33% of the 8th graders were taking algebra and by 1979 that percentage had dwindled to about 10%.

        So it certainly sounds like a combination of public schools failing AND sending more unprepared students to college.

        1. The same argument Warty makes regarding students in college now applies to students in high school during the mid- to late-20th century. It would've been over a longer timeframe than 10 years, but I don't know how literally to take your HS teacher's story.

          1. In other words, public schools suck hard, but were also subject to a rapid percentage increase in the attendance of the ignorant during the 20th century.

    5. Wow. That is sad. It's not like the math you are expected to know at the beginning of college is hard at all if you are just taking intro courses. And the reading level is just a joke. I'm sure standards at schools are somewhat to blame, but I also think that and awful lot of kids just don't read books. I blame video games. But mostly parents. I think parents are by far the biggest factors in educational success and there is no school that can change that (well, maybe a strict boarding school).

      1. kids just don't read books.

        This is definitely a big part of it. It takes time to read a book, there is no instant gratification. It's a shame too since once you learn how to read it's really not all that difficult to become a better reader.

        1. Some of that I think might be the result of the destruction of reading education. About 30 years ago the educators decided that phonics wasn't the way to learn how to read. Even though that had worked for 100s of years, they knew better. It was better to use "whole word" education where kids just said what they thought the word was. It was a disaster. And a couple of generations of kids were left on their own to learn how to read. If you never learned how to properly read, reading a book would not be a pleasure but just one big frustration.

          1. True, I was pretty lucky that my mom read to me all the time and then bought me pretty much any book I wanted when I was a kid. Maybe part of the problem is also the "canon." If schools would assign books that aren't awful then maybe more kids would enjoy reading instead of treating it like a chore.

          2. Maybe. I am one of those who learned to read just fine on his own before anyone tried to teach me, so I don't have much perspective on (or memory of) how reading was taught to my cohort.
            There are some positive things. My mother recently retired from teaching elementary school and she was involved with Reading Recovery which seemed to be a pretty good program and got back to a lot of the fundamentals like sounding things out, but also emphasized understanding the meaning in a whole language kind of way. I think that the best approach is probably some combination of phonics and whole language.

            1. Anecdotal, but most of the children I know that like to read knew how to read before they went to kindergarten.

              I learned how to read by age 4, and by age 10 I would no longer read books or short stories simply because it seemed like "school work". But I read plenty of newspapers, Mad Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and National Lampoon (helps to have older siblings) back when they weren't as dumbed-down as they are now.

              1. I just saw school work as getting in the way of the books and stories that I wanted to read.

                1. Yes, but there's also a time commitment to book and school reduces one's time.

                  There's certainly differences between kids, some have one or two things they love to do and school isn't going to get in their way, and there's other kids who like to do dozens of things and school does reduces spare time enough to have to jettison a couple of those things. I liked to read but didn't love it so I switched to shorter-form, irreverent stuff. (Grammar school reading assignments were never in the "irreverent" category.)

        2. I'm not sure if I'd agree with this 100% Zeb and RBS. Some kids just like to read and some don't. My daughter reads through several full length novels a month, my son hates even cracking open a book. It's not that there is no gratification, there are just other activities he would rather be doing. He CAN read just fine, he just would rather be doing other things. He's actually a pretty decent story teller but the ADD gives him a hard time focusing.

      2. It's not about video games. I burned through tons of books growing up and was playing computer games since my Granddad taught me how to play Wolfenstein 3D when I was 6. If anything it is much harder now as a working stiff to find time to do both.

        1. I just hate video games and like to needle the dorks who do.

          1. Like them, that is.

          2. Sounds like Zeb lost at Halo one too many times.

            1. The last video game I played with any seriousness was on Super Nintendo (I am better than everyone at Super Nintendo Tetris). Never bothered with any newer systems or 3D games. Really. I'm just not interested.

              1. Ditto. More than 4 buttons and a joystick and it started to feel ridiculous to me. No judgement, just lost interest.

        2. my Granddad taught me how to play Wolfenstein 3D when I was 6

          I suddenly feel quite old.

  7. what's wrong w firing his ass up? when my buds I had a snowball fight in 5th or 6th grade (we had stuffed our coat pockets), the principal lined us up in the gym, lean into the wall, let fly 2 or 3 hard swats each. we never looked at snow again

    1. Thanks for your input, Mary.

    2. I bet you and your friends are all about some snowballing.

    3. Too bad your principle didn't swat you for spelling, grammar, punctuation, or general stupidity.

  8. What is most depressing about zero tolerance policies is not that they exist. It is that administrators are so brain dead and spineless that they do nothing but slaveishly follow them. It is not hard to say "I don't give a shit what the policy says, I am not suspending the kid."

    1. Unless you get punished by your employers for failing to rape students with adequate frequency in accordance with policy. Or if you want to be the badass on the block and appear tough on "crime", so to speak.

    2. They can't be sued for following policy.
      That is why there must be a policy for everything.
      Otherwise if they suspend a child of the wrong lawyer they may find themselves in deep shit.

      1. I know how it works. You don't suspend the kid who brought the toy gun to school. And then when you do suspend the kid who brings an actual gun, that kid sues saying he was selectively punished.

        So what? Schools get sued all of the time. Make a defensible and correct decision to the best of your ability and live with it.

        1. Make a defensible and correct decision to the best of your ability and live with it.

          Or have someone write policy, have the parents sign it as a condition of their child attending the school, and your lawsuit problem is solved!

        2. My dad and his friends brought real guns to school every day and went hunting/shooting with them afterwards. The world didn't end, nobody was killed or hurt.

  9. Whatever happened to The Bloodhound Gang?

    1. I don't know, but I bet Mr. Bloodhound still isn't there.

    2. You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals.

      BTW this is not the song you want your 5 year old singing in sunday school, trust me. 🙂

      1. If I had a 5 year old, that is exactly what I would want him to be singing in Sunday school.

    3. Yeah, usually whenever there's trouble, they're there on the double.

      1. Good. I'm not the only one that thinks of that Bloodhound Gang first.

  10. Tangential: Another day, another poorly sourced op-ed about how video games and online porn are making man-as-we-know-him become extinct.

    As you were.

    1. Men are not getting married because of porn. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the marriage laws being written totally against men. And nothing to do with women giving away sex for free without marriage. No, men are not making the rational choice of getting laid for free instead of committing to a relationship that allows a women to financially ruin him at any time. No, it is all porn and video games. They just need to man up.

      1. Marry a senior VP at a major company, become a stay at home dad, be indispensable (in summer it means make an excellent mojito), and raise bizarre children.

        Marriage is fine by me.

        1. Or just marry a mature lady that doesn't want children and that you already know does not want or need your money.

          Any guy who marries a young, poor, American woman who wants lots of children... welll it is your life, don't say I didn't warn you.

      2. More importantly, what has marriage rate to do with breeding rate? I don't have the statistics at hand, but I'm guessing that the two are nearly unrelated.

      3. As long as feminazi and mangina progressives are in charge of the country, expect it to get worse.

        My suggestion to any young males in this country: Don't have children, don't get married, and get your passport asap and get the fuck out of the USSA and don't even think about coming back.

        1. "get the fuck out of the USSA and don't even think about coming back"

          And go where?

          1. You would be surprised ENDelt260. Have you spent any time at all in other countries recently? Don't let people tell you that everywhere else is less free than here, it's not true, and I am speaking from experience. That may have been true 30 years ago, but it definitely is not true today.

            1. Can you offer some suggestions?

              Because see, I'm a gun guy. As far as I can tell, there isn't a place better for gun rights then the USA.

    2. Hmmmm I managed to get through high-school, college and lawschool and find a woman to marry all with plentiful access (and use) to online porn and video games. Maybe these people are just worthless fuckwads who would have found other ways to fuck their lives anyways.

      1. ^^THIS^^

    3. And we already know the solution. Let's make video games and porn illegal and throw anyone getting caught at those now illicit activities, in prison. That will solve the problem. Hey, I have a better idea, let's make everything illegal and just let non-elected officials decide who should be punished.

      1. That sound a lot like the Final Solution to the libertarian problem.

      2. No. Just make it illegal for men. They seem to be the ones who can't handle it.

        1. But only for white men, especially older white men with jobs and money.

      3. You mean, just make reading illegal, and then it'll burgeon.

        1. Why not, they already make just looking at certain things illegal. I mean if I just browse a supposed terrorist site, I could be targeted by DHS, even though I did so just out of curiosity. Under NDAA, I could just disappear, since any type of trial would be suspended. Next up, thought crime.

    4. I'm pretty convinced that online porn is a positive boon to society, but I do like to blame video games (as one of many factors) for turning a lot of men into eternal teenagers. But mostly I'm just incredibly bored by video games and like to give people a hard time who like them.

      1. Diablo III and I say "fuck you".

        1. Well I hope you and Diablo III are very happy together, dork.

          1. You're a towel!

          2. Just wait until Episiarch voluntarily treats himself like a Korean gold farmer.

        2. It's getting some pretty shitty reviews. I haven't played it as I'm not even a fan of the original.

        3. Zeb just has two left thumbs and obviously is controller challenged. I'm sure whatever you do with your spare time is just dandy Zeb.

          1. You know, there is a whole world out there that is 3D and interactive. And it actually exists.

            And there was a brief time when I was quite good with a controller. I still have complete mastery of the original Super Mario Brothers series.

            1. original Super Mario Brothers series

              And there you have it...

            2. I bet you could even shoot the ducks before they flew out of the bushes.

            3. If you actually think that people who play video games only play video seriously need to get out.

              1. No, that's not what I think. Just a reaction to "what you do with your spare time". The real world is enough for me (too much some days).

        4. It's supposed to be a real time-consumer. How highly would you recommend it?

          1. I've only put in about 5 hours so far, but it's classic Diablo: KILL KILL LOOT LOOT. The Havok engine makes it look very fine on my 50" plasma, and it's got me hooked so far.

            If you liked or loved the other Diablos, you will like or love the new one.

            1. You don't mind being subjected to the whims of Blizzards servers?

              1. I was in Hawaii when the game came out and missed the initial server fuckups (and I was actually pleased at my timing because I was sure something was going to happen, and I was right). I bought it Sunday, and have so far had a seamless experience. Another bonus: it's fucking huge (16 gigs), but you can start playing it after only a small amount of download; it continues to download the rest as you start playing.

                That's a brilliant bit of preparation by Blizzard. Steam needs to figure out how to do it.

                1. That is kinda cool. I usually start a download before going to bed, so it's not that big of a deal to me.

              2. I was in Hawaii when the game came out and missed the initial server fuckups (and I was actually pleased at my timing because I was sure something was going to happen, and I was right). I bought it Sunday, and have so far had a seamless experience. Another bonus: it's fucking huge (16 gigs), but you can start playing it after only a small amount of download; it continues to download the rest as you start playing.

                That's a brilliant bit of preparation by Blizzard. Steam needs to figure out how to do it.

        5. You're the cancer killing gaming.

      2. I didn't play video games as kid. Instead I went out got in fist fights and tore shit up in random acts of vandalism. Then when we got old enough to drive, we had drag races and generally raised hell. Had we had the kick ass video games of today, we would have done none of that. And the world would have been a safer place for it. I see video games as a good.

        1. I didn't play video games as kid. Instead I went out got in fist fights and tore shit up in random acts of vandalism. Then when we got old enough to drive, we had drag races and generally raised hell.

          You were raised in a free country.

          These days that's a good way to become a felon, never able to join the military, vote, legally own a firearm, or hold a professional license.

        2. Well I managed to avoid being very destructive without any electronic distraction. Maybe I'm just special.

          I think kids belong outside, running around until dinner time. The end.

          1. As long as they're not running around on your lawn, amirite?

            1. All the kids in Zeb's neighborhood are probably too wrapped up in their new fangled e-lectronic gadgets to get anywhere near his lawn anyway.

              1. Get off may lawn!

                Now that I have firmly established myself as an old fart (in spirit anyway), I'd like to reemphasize that you dorks should do whatever you want to and poison your children's minds with whatever brain-rotting devices you see fit to subject them to.

          2. Video games. Pfft. We shot Roman Candles at each other and it was good enough for us.

            1. Roman candle fights were the best. I wonder how long it would be before you were on the Drudge Report if you tried to have one of those today.

              1. As long as you used an aluminum trash can lid shield you'd be safe, right?

                Wait, they don't make trash cans out of metal any more, do they?

            2. Those were awesome times. Also the running BB gun battles. I was recounting some of those epic matches to a squishy liberal friend and she was aghast. "What if someone had gotten killed!?!" I told her we figured if you got killed by a BB gun it meant God wanted you dead, and you were a goner one way or another.

        3. I rode bikes, played video games, and shot guns. Not bad.

      3. If you find video games boring, you might not realize how many different types of them there are now.

        1. RPG is the only one that matters.

          1. Do the Mass Effect games count as RPGs? Because purists say they don't, but whatever, dude.

            1. Some say they do some say they don't. I think technically if you're playing the role of a character in the game then yes it's an RPG. I've never played any of the ME games but they look more like shooters than traditional RPGs.

            2. Mass Effect and RPG shouldn't ever be mentioned in the same sentence.

              1. I'm an avid gamer, but I never gave a shit about all those genre wars. I love Mass Effect, and I loved Diablo, so I'm putting ME3 and Diablo III on my to-buy-ASAP list.

                1. RPA, play a real RPG like the Gothic series, Skyrim, Risen, or Two Worlds II, that will cure you of that Mass Effect crap.

            3. I only played the first ME, and it seemed plenty RPG to me. Kinda like a third person shooter with an excellent story.

              1. The game is story driven and you reply to conversations with your choice (yes, the choice is usually binary or tertiary) of attitude. It's more of a role playing game than any JRPG that has already decided who your character is for you.

        2. You know, to be perfectly honest and drop my silly posturing, I am sure that if I put some time into it I could find some games I woudl enjoy. I just don't need another big time sink in my life. I prefer to spend my leisure time reading, making things and going outside. Any new entertainment device is just going to cut into those things or sleep.

          1. Plenty of games allow for the creation of virtual stuff, which provides the same sense of satisfaction and making things in real life. One "game" I'm actually planning on getting for my retired father for his birthday is called Universe Sandbox, and it's what you might expect from the title. Play around with physics, make the Earth crash into the Sun, simulate all kinds of astronomical events, etc.

    5. *ahem*

      Is (insert demonized hobby here) bad? Poorly conducted research we point to while ignoring conflicting research says yes. You see, the proof of our thesis is based on a handful of extreme cases which have nothing to do with the average person. Furthermore, a few utterly unsubstantiated personal opinions about the affected group make our case. Our solution? A vaguely worded statement which is coded language for imposing laws against pleasurable activities.

      1. "This new kind of human addictive arousal traps users into an expanded present hedonistic time zone. Past and future are distant and remote as the present moment expands to dominate everything. That present scene is totally dynamic, with images changing constantly."

        This is a beautiful description of the way I feel when I read an amazing book.

        BAN TEH BOOKZ!

  11. The problem in the stories we read about is almost always not zero tolerance per se. 0 tolerance may be a problem, but the real problem is one of kind, not of degree. The stories that make us face palm, if not outright face plant, are those in which it's not a matter of punishment's being too severe or the bar's being set too low for disciplinary measures, but of things that ought to be considered inoffensive or even laudable that wind up contradicting some crazy rule. Things like treating a picture of a weapon as a weapon, or the recent bit about blackening one's face to fulfill an assignment to appear as a black figure. The problem's not one of tolerance, but of the measuring stick pointing in the wrong direction.

    1. The problem's not one of tolerance, but of the measuring stick pointing in the wrong direction.

      That makes it sound like a "chicken or egg" question when it really isn't.

      Ask yourself "What Would Jesus Do" and then ask "What Would Hitler Do" and nearly every time the zero-tolerance policy comes down on the side of "What Would Hitler do."

      I'm as irreligious as they come, and that's my point. It's the difference between accepting the world isn't perfect and being power-mad. The punishments are no longer an attempt to help teach any responsibility or life lesson to the offender beyond "Respect my authority." That is the total basis for the policies so both zero-tolerance and misdirection of the measuring stick serve the purpose quite well.

      1. No, it's not about that, because all the cases you read about are those where everybody thought they were respecting authority, and then suddenly someone in authority made an ad hoc ruling that was obviously not based on any rule anybody understood previously. They don't think their authority will get any more respect as a result; in fact, they know full well they'll lessen respect for authority.

  12. As always,all of this goes away if you get rid of public schools. No controversies exist about school environments when parents are choosing the environment they want for their kids.

    1. No, even that doesn't do it completely. You hear about similar chickenshit going on in private schools. Less of it, though -- but maybe not proportionally less to their share of the business.

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