Today’s quote offered by a faithful reader: If you don’t want your car keyed, don’t date a stripper. T.B. (2017)
How idiotic are “zero tolerance” policies you ask? I have a long history of calling out governors, electeds and yes, school boards, over applying a “zero tolerance policy” when they shouldn’t. For instance, is it okay to have zero tolerance for murder? Sure, but just because John killed Sam doesn’t mean it was murder. You have to look at the facts. Maybe Sam deserved killing. Zero tolerance policies are constantly misused by the authorities because it makes their lives easier. Who needs to spend time thinking or exercising discretion when you can instead apply a “zero tolerance” policy and relieve yourself of burning some precious brain cells?
Schools are the worst at zero tolerance policies. Houston County is no exception. But today’s case is out of Henry County, where the Board of Education decreed that if you are in fight, you are automatically suspended, expelled, punished or quartered (same as Houston County, by the way), depending on the whims of the BOE. SG was constantly being picked on by BN. SG and her mother had both documented to the school the threats, some of which were on Facebook, and had warned the school that violence was imminent. The school, in classic indifference, did nothing, probably for fear of hurting BN’s feelings. BN then assaulted SG, in front of adults including school officials, and SG punched BN back. SG and BN ended up on the ground where SG landed a few more punches. SG was brought before a tribunal on charges of fighting.
At the hearing, SG argued self-defense. Yet despite school video evidence corroborating her story and adult testimony, SG was expelled. The school relied on their “zero tolerance” for fighting policy. SG appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which correctly held that self-defense is applicable under Georgia law, even to a student in school. OCGA 16-3-23.1 “A person who uses threats or force … relating to the use of force in defense of self or others… has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use force as provided in said Code sections, including deadly force.” Commonly called the “stand your ground” law, this law doesn’t just include the right to shoot someone, sometimes you can simply punch the aggressor in the face, as SG did.
GASP! How can that be? Now we are going to give students the right to defend themselves and not be a punching bag? Now schools must actually have grounds to expel a student other than application of the insane “zero tolerance for fighting” rule? Thank goodness, the Supreme Court has decided that the law applies to everyone, not just unelected bureaucrats and school board members.
It is interesting that so many school administrators seem to consider themselves “the authority” over the students at the school. Do school administrators hold an important position? Sure, but I’ve seen plenty who considered themselves the dictator of students, even for off campus matters. I hope this decision paves the way for the repeal of other stupid, ludicrous, shortsighted, inane, doltish, brainless, futile and obtuse zero tolerance policies that too many schools inflict on their students. Not that I have a strong opinion on the matter.