Rights group intervenes in ludicrous â€˜zero tolerance policy’ trend
A 10-year-old has been suspended from school and threatened with expulsion for firing a make-believe arrow at a classmate, prompting a rights group to step in and demand the incident be stricken from the record.
The Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties watchdog group, has intervened in the case of Johnny Jones, a fifth grader at South Eastern Middle School in Fawn Grove, Pa., who found himself in trouble after violating the school’s zero tolerance policy on weapons by miming the action of shooting an arrow from a bow with only his hands.
According to the report, Jones was in class when a classmate held up his folder like an imaginary gun and â€œshotâ€ at him while he was retrieving a pencil from the teacher. When Jones drew back the strings of an imaginary bow and â€œshotâ€ back, a girl in the class altered the teacher.
The teacher then passed the matter on to the principal, saying that â€œfirearmsâ€ had been involved in the play fighting. Sure enough, instead of using common sense, the principal suspended Jones for a day, contacted the boy’s parents, and threatened expulsion for â€œmaking a threatâ€ to another student using a â€œreplica or representation of a firearmâ€.
A portion of The Rutherford Institute’s letter to the school regarding the case.
Demanding a response by December 13, The Rutherford Institute’s letter (PDF) states â€œWe request that you rescind the suspension and immediately remove all reference to it from Johnny’s permanent school record.â€
â€œThere is no reason that Johnny should be stigmatized and branded a miscreant due to the school’s unreasonable application of its zero tolerance policy against him,â€ notes the letter, signed by Rutherford Senior Staff Attorney Douglas R. McKusick.
The group routinely intervenes in such cases. President John W. Whitehead, describes the school’s response to the incident and others like it as an ongoing effort to â€œcriminalize childish behavior and punish all offenses severely, no matter how minor or non-threatening the so-called infraction may have been.â€
â€œWe all want to keep the schools safe, but I’d far prefer to see something credible done about actual threats, rather than this ongoing, senseless targeting of imaginary horseplay,â€ he added.
While the school district’s zero-tolerance policy encompasses a prohibition of almost any kind of weapon, Rutherford attorneys state that it is ludicrous to consider an imagined weapon a violation of the policy.
â€œNo reasonable argument can be made that the imaginings from the mind of a 10-year-old boy, completely lacking any actual, tangible device, represented a â€˜replica’ or a â€˜look-alike’ of an actual gun,â€ they write.
â€œThis atrocious misapplication of rules originally intended to protect students while on school grounds is foolish and actually damages the futures of the children meant to be protected. Moreover, Johnny’s rights were trampled without the due consideration.â€ the letter concludes.
Once again, these daily incidents all across the country highlight how, in many cases, positions of authority in society have been filled by spineless jellyfish who would rather see kids grow up as mindless automatons than experience the joy of youthful imagination.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.