Thursday, January 27, 2005

Is This A Case Of "Zero Tolerance" Gone Too Far?

This stick-figure drawing was made by two male special education students in Ocala, Florida. The students are 9 and 10 years-old. What the picture shows is the two boys stabbing a 10 year-old classmate. The two students that made the picture drew another one (with mis-spelled profanities) that features the two "artists" hanging the same classmate. In order to make their intentions clear, the picture-drawers labeled the figures with the initials of everyone in the picture.

After making the drawings, the two boys displayed them to the third student, who, feeling threatened, reported it to the teacher. The teacher then took the drawings and showed them to school administrator Marty Clifford, who contacted the police.

The two students
were arrested and led away in handcuffs by the police. They have since been charged with making a written threat, which is a felony in the State of Florida.

Of course the parents of the arrested students are very upset with the school, saying that school authorities should have handled whatever disciplinary action that would have been imposed. They, (and probably many others) think that involving the police in the matter was an extreme reaction.

But the school's point of view is that if they didn't call the police and a later act of violence was perpetrated against the threatened student, then the question that would be on everyone's lips would be, "Why didn't the school do anything about this before?"

This is one of those "rock and a hard place" scenarios that school administrators sometimes find themselves in. This incident will be a likely case-study for perspective administrators in their Education classes.

Other commentary on this story: Blogbat

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