Okay, first … my English assignment.

I know you guys are very excited about this, right? You care so very much about my English assignment? Well, here’s the idea, it’s actually a little bit interesting. My generalized topic: Do zero tolerance policies in our public schools inhibit a student’s right to free speech? I’ve been doing a ton of research, and find myself kind of overwhelmed with the quantity of it all.

Personally, I can’t say I have thought too positively of them when presented with them in the school handbooks. I’ve purposely told my children not to sign (the little line that says they understand the guidelines and will abide by them all) because, hello! Special needs kids here … should they really need to be cognizant of 50 pages worth of the school handbook? No. I certainly don’t think so.

Now me, I don’t sign it as the parent because I don’t agree with their zero tolerance policies and I am not in agreement with how they police kids who break their rules (kids in handcuffs, KIDS in handcuffs, for spitting on a teacher???!!!???).

So anyway, back to the subject at hand, I’m reading about the age of zero tolerance policies and case after case of students being expelled and/or arrested and I have gotta ask: Is this really in the best interest of our children? I’m reading that statistics show LESS THAN 10% of all kids expelled are actually violent offenders, similar statistic for those having to go before juvenile court.

I’m interested in what anyone else out there might have to say about it. How do you weigh the rights of the individual student against the need to maintain school safety? Has school discipline been criminalized? What should be done about it? No easy answers here, but my English paper has fired me up a bit about it. 😀
–kat

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