As the parent of a child about to go to kindergarten next year, and who intends to send his kids to public schools (no limousine liberal here), I have always hated the public school's fascination (and the public's at large, for that matter, since it spills over into my job, oh, just about every day) with Zero Tolerance.
This is the idiotic policy that says, for instance, we have zero tolerance for guns in school, so the fact that a 6 year old brought a toy plastic gun that's about one inch in size, and resembles a gun as much as a hot wheel resembles a car, we will expel that kid from school for the year, or kick them out of the district, or whatever other idiotic thing they'll do to the kid. All this does, of course, it ruin the kid's year, perhaps many years, and teaches them to become an idiotic automaton who can't think or act for himself or herself. I guess this is what conservatives generally want, since thinking people are questioning people, and we can't have that.
So we have seen the explosion of these "zero tolerance" rules with more and more absurd results. Kids expelled for having Midol, or aspirin, kindergarteners getting trouble for holding hands, or kissing someone on the cheek. High schoolers expelled or even arrested for writing fictional stories that involve violence. It's really crazy.
Comes now 11th grader Kevin Francois in Georgia who's (single) mother in Iraq got to make her monthly call to him while he was at lunch in high school on his cell phone (interestingly, they are allowed at school, you just can't use them). Sin of all sins, he answers, and even refuses a teacher's instruction to hang up (after all, his dad is dead, and his mom is away and he only talks to her once a month), resisting when the teacher grabs the phone and hangs up for him. They take him to the office for punishment, and now he's in even more trouble because he gets mad at them when they won't let him answer when she calls back (she left a voicemail message scolding him for hanging up on her when they so rarely get to speak). Now, he's been suspended for 10 days, the grades he's finally begun to bring up since his mom left are going to plummet again, who knows what irreparable damage has been caused to this person. All in the name of an idiotic, insipid, unthinking, unnuanced policy that allows people to feel good about getting tough on "evildoers."
I know, people will lambast me, saying that it's not Republicans that push this stuff, but I stick with my view, these are conservative values, as opposed to the tolerant, nuanced, thinking views of progressives or (don't say this word!) liberals.
Maybe the fact that they've gone and done something unpatriotic towards a family serving in Iraq will finally give some impetus to change this idiocy.