Zero Tolerance Policy.. Does it go too far?

We all know that the schools have put into effect the Zero Tolerance Policy and stand firmly behind it.  According to WikiPedia it became wide spread in 1994 and was originally instituted to be used for weapons or drugs.  Now for the most part this is a very good policy however there have been many cases of extreme punishment dealt out to students who frankly didn’t deserve it.  Wiki list examples of a student who was expelled for a year because she had nail clippers, others because they have mouth wash or rubber bands.  Where should the line be drawn?  Should it have a no exceptions rule and every infringement be dealt the same punishment?  I don’t believe it should.  I mean even in the courts every crime has a punishment that is dealt on a personal basis.  If a person murders someone in the heat of the moment, it’s a crime of passion and considering the circumstances leading up to the crime the judge will give them a punishment that he or she deems is enough.  So if the crime itself holds a maximum sentence of 100 years, but the judge realizes that the person did not mean to do what they did, he or she can give them as little as time served and probation for a certain number of years.  So why is it that the schools can’t?

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A few weeks ago my sister in law posted something on Facebook that at the time no one realized how big this was going to get.  Her 17 yr old son Chaz who is a great kid, plays football, doesn’t get in trouble at school did something that was 100% by accident.  Before I go into detail let me ask you this, have you ever been in such a frenzied hurry in the morning that you grab the wrong thing?  Maybe you grab your husbands briefcase instead of yours?  Maybe you picked up your garage door opener instead of the cell phone, they are both black and about the same size and frankly you haven’t had enough sleep or coffee.  We’ve all done it.  We are all guilty of grabbing the wrong thing.  We’ve all had mornings where we over slept and now we are running like crazy, forget to brush our teeth, grab something to eat as we run out the door.  Well that’s what happened to Chaz and his family.  They were all hurriedly running trying to get ready and out the door, running a little late.  Chaz made his own lunch like he always does grabbed his drink and ran out the door to jump in the car with his mom and brother to head to school.

Now a little back story here.  Chaz drink Dr. Peppers every day with his lunch.  There is a kid in his class for whatever reason likes to steal his soda’s, so when Chaz sat at his desk in his 2nd period class and witnessed this kid walking in with a can of Dr. Pepper Chaz thought he had managed to snag his drink again so he grabbed his lunch to check.  When he opened it up fear struck through him.  He had grabbed a can of his parents beer by accident, both of them are stored in the door of the refrigerator.  It was an honest mistake and Chaz did what he thought was the right thing.  He took it up to his teacher and explained the accident that had happened thinking this was the right thing to do.  Well he had no idea just how wrong it was.  Because he was being honest and told the teacher the MOMENT he realized what he had done, he received the maximum punishment.  They suspended him for 3 days then sentenced him to  two months in alternative school!!!  THEY THREW THE BOOK AT HIM FOR BEING HONEST!  What are we teaching our kids?  It’s better to lie and hide things then be truthful and upfront?  Well his mother Christi didn’t take it laying down.  She’s fought the school every step of the way, having meetings with the principal and school board and now their story is making national headlines!

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news%2Flocal&id=9444938

This originally happened in a small town in South East Texas (on the East side of Harris County, where Houston is located) and the story has been aired in Raleigh NC, and Ohio.  Friends who were so outraged by what had happened created a Facebook page called Stand with Chaz http://www.facebook.com/standwithchazeden and within 24 hours had more then 500 likes!  They now have over 1400 likes!  Christi herself was on the local radio station this morning pleading their case, (I so wish I could have heard it)!  The people who are in charge of teaching our kids really need to learn that there is a story behind every case and every case should be evaluated separately and stop delving out punishments that don’t fit the crimes!  No child should be so severely punished for telling the truth.. NO student should be suspended because they have a nail file or nail clippers in their purse.  If we can show leniency to adults who commit a crime, why can’t we show it to children who make a mistake?

Help Chaz and Christi, go like their page on FACEBOOK.  Show them your support, and show the school they were so very wrong in this decision!