Parents around the nation have learned that the proper translation for the phrase “zero tolerance” means “complete lack of common sense”. The latest evidence for this comes from a Woodbridge, Maryland elementary school that labeled a six-year-old boy a sexual deviant for slapping a girl on the buttocks during recess. Instead of detention, Potomac View called the police:
In schools across the country, kids as young as three and four are now facing charges of sexual harassment that will stay with them permanently on their school records.
These so-called “zero-tolerance” polices, designed to protect students from weapons and drugs or sexual violence, are often being taken quite literally.
Randy Castro, 7, who likes recess and soccer, now has an alarming red flag in his school records. It started on the playground with a first grade classmate.
“I saw another kid like hitting her butt so I did it,” Castro said.
His Potomac View Elementary School then called the police and wrote him up as a sexual harasser. Woodbridge, Md. school officials described the incident as “Sexual Touching Against Student, Offensive,” in their report.
The only thing offensive is the administration of Potomac View and schools like it around the country acting out of a prurient hysteria over simple playground issues. Anyone who reads sexual intent or even a dim understanding of sexuality at all in a six-year-old needs extensive counseling far more than the children they supervise. Calling the police for a disciplinary issue amounts to a complete capitulation of the administration’s authority over the children and a highly distorted sense of priorities.
Nor is Potomac View alone in this issue. In Maryland alone, 166 elementary-school students got suspended for sexual harassment last year. Those figures include 22 first-graders, 16 kindergartners, and three pre-schoolers. In Virginia, ABC News reports, 255 elementary-school children got suspended last year for the same reasons.
It comes down to the application of “zero tolerance”. While assaulting a female on the buttocks or the breast in middle school and high school may indeed have sexual motivations, it hardly applies to three- and four-year-olds. Some prepubescents may have sexual motivations for assaults, but they’re the exception and not the rule. However, thanks to gutless administrators and school boards, they treat every child exactly the same without consideration of context, intent, or circumstances — and in so doing, put labels on children that brand them as sex offenders throughout their educational career.
Zero tolerance — zero brains. We pay administrators to use judgment and discretion, not to act as robots. If they can’t handle it, then they should leave and work in assembly lines or other vocations that don’t require mature analysis. Small wonder that more and more parents choose to home-school their children than leaving them to the knee-jerk mercy of modern public-school administrators.
Update: This story makes all of us very sad pandas. Get ready for fiction to become reality (definitely NSFW):