Zero Tolerance

Rolling Back Zero Tolerance: Oklahoma Edition

The backlash against "zero tolerance" policies continues.


The pushback against zero tolerance continues with the Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act, a proposed bill in Oklahoma. KWTV reports:


"Real intent, real threats and real weapons should always be dealt with immediately. We need to stop criminalizing children's imagination and childhood play," explained [state Rep.] Sally Kern, Republican from Oklahoma City.

"If there's no real intent, there's no real threat, no real weapon, no real harm is occurring or going to occur, why in the world are we in a sense abusing our children like this."…

House Bill 2351 states schools shall not "punish, humiliate, intimidate, be condescending to, or bully a student" who has "possession of a toy weapon."

It also prevents schools from punishing students "using a finger or hand to simulate at weapon," "vocalizing imaginary firearms" or "drawing a picture of a firearm."

One common complaint about zero tolerance policies is that they're inflexible—that by imposing an absolute prohibition, they erase the sort of discretion that allows officials to distinguish genuinely dangerous behavior from harmless play. The Oklahoma bill's opponents are trying to turn that argument around, claiming that Kern's legislation would do something similar:

[T]he Oklahoma Education Association isn't on board with Kern's proposed law.

"I fully trust Oklahoma educators to handle student discipline in an appropriate case-by-case manner. The proposed legislation removes local control from teachers, counselors, administrators and local school boards. Educators are degreed professionals, trained and experienced in dealing with children," explained O.E.A President Linda Hampton.

The text of the proposed law is here. It's entertaining reading, because it spells out in intricate detail just what those degreed professionals would be prohibited from punishing, from "Vocalizing imaginary firearms or munitions" to "Brandishing a pastry or other food which is partially consumed in such a way that the remnant resembles a weapon."

Bonus link: "5 Ridiculous School Security Scares."

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  1. Educators are degreed professionals


  2. The proposed legislation removes local control from teachers, counselors, administrators and local school boards.

    But the zero-tolerance policy doesn’t? How many credentials do I have to get to understand that?

  3. The only solution to increased statism is more statism; the only solution to absurd rules is more rules. Makes sense.

    1. To be fair, when you’re putting restrictions on statists, explicit and detailed rules are the only words they can comprehend. Asking them to use good judgement won’t work, since they don’t have any.

  4. I got in to it with Stacey Campfield- the Republican member of the Tennessee Senate from the 7th district- on FB last night over the recent introduction of a Tennessee Medical Marijuana law. His big argument against was the usual “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!!!” and he posted ridiculously skewed stats about massive upticks in teens using weed once a MM bill gets passed.

    I asked him the following – “since you are claiming to be worried about the children, would you deny the legal use of Realm Oil, also known as Alepsia- high cannabidiol (CBD), to Tennessee children diagnosed with Dravet’s syndrome? Yes or no.”

    He said no.

    They don’t give a FUCK about the children, just the ones that are important enough to get them exposed as CARING FOR THE CHILDREN.

  5. We’re moving pretty close to a system of law declaring what behavior is allowed, aren’t we?

  6. Soon, Oklahoma schools will be explicitly forbidden from punishing children for biting Pop-Tarts into the shape of guns. That’s hilarious.

    1. but what if it ISNT A GUN?! What if… he’s biting the shape of… a BLACK COCK?? THEN ITS ILLEGALS.

  7. Your hair will curl in the world of McBragg…

  8. “Studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than, you know, a few decades. So it’s the death knell of this country. I honestly think it’s the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam ? which I think is a big threat, okay? ‘Cause what’s happening now is they are going after, in schools, two-year olds…And this stuff is deadly, and it’s spreading, and it will destroy our young people, it will destroy this nation!”
    Sally Kern

    “We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school? I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”
    Sally Kern

    This lady is a embarrassment and this does not change that fact.

    1. HA! I hadn’t even read this comment when I suggested that said Concerned Politico probably also wanted to Un-Gay schools too, given that’s how to raise rabble in good ol’ Oklahomo.

      politicians, what, trying to create specter of DOOM?!? Race hatred?? NEVER

  9. What we need is a New Stupid Intrusive Law to counteract the other Stupid Intrusive Law.

    because these elections, they don’t just win themselves! politicians gotta politik. Anything involving Guns?Children! FTW!! Maybe they can sneak some gay something in there too, that always gets the local yokels heated. Like, no Gay stuff in sex ed class. Or gym. Ban Rollerblades!

    See, this is why Government Run Schools are an awesome idea.

  10. If the frigging “degreed professionals” were doing their jobs, then this kind of ridiculous legislative proposal would not be necessary.

  11. Someone teach that kid some trigger discipline.

  12. Will this also go towards medicine and such? It’s a good thing I’m no longer a kid… I’d be trying to draw pictures of aspirin and then fake like I’m eating them. I’d practically be in jail by the time I would 12 years old.

  13. It’s rather obvious what’s behind the scatterbrained ‘zero tolerance’ nonsense. This is a determined effort on the part of our public indoctrinators to demonize guns to kids. Guns must be seen as evil – as the cause of punishment and humiliation – in order to prepare the next generation for the elimination of these evil tools via confiscation.

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