Zero tolerance schools and cops: kids are not perps


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Engineers know better than to design a machine with zero tolerance.


Meanwhile in inner city schools students who want to learn have a difficult time due to the often violent disruptions caused by fellow students who don’t want to learn.

In Stockton, CA, a 5-year-old with ADHD had his hands and feet zip-tied by the on-duty officer while he waited for the parents to show up. The child was then charged with “battery on a police officer.”

Wow. No sensitivity training. No understanding of mental health. Glorified mall cops beating on minors. The hiring policy of these schools needs an over haul.

“There’s the other problem with bringing police officers into schools. Law enforcement agencies have earned the reputation over the years for protecting their own and allowing “rogue” officers to go largely unpunished. Termination is rare and prosecution even more so. When you turn over low-grade disciplinary issues to law enforcement, you run the very real risk of handing a student over to a cop like Alvarado – someone who’s been slapped on the wrist multiple times and sent back into the general population.”

The unionized environment of not ratting out bad apples has seriouly eroded the intentions of Unions too protect workers from unfair work ethics. Now it seems more like unethical union workers doing what they please and seldom being held accountable.


The problem isn’t that there are police officers in schools.

The problem is that police officers are no longer the servants and protectors they used to be, but are now violent and egotistical thugs.

If our police were reasonable, rational, brave, principled protectors of the innocent and agents of Justice, their presence in schools would be a boon. They’d be remarkable role models for students, and they’d help impart values of generosity, self sacrifice, community, honesty, integrity, fairness, bravery, toughness and gentleness alike, and countless other positive values that would be immediately evident in their behavior and comportment.

As it is, they’re ignorant, impatient, self-centered, power hungry bullies who use force and intimidation to maintain a status quo. They have no interest in fairness or Justice, no stake in defending the weak or giving voice to the voiceless. They exist purely to enforce the arbitrary rules established by whichever cruel or idiotic figurehead controls their paycheck. They will not go out of their way to help people in need, they will not put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others, they will not speak out to support an underdog or a minority. They are hired goons wearing the mask of respectable authority.


Meanwhile in inner city schools students who want to learn have a difficult time due to the often violent disruptions caused by fellow students who don’t want to learn.

My experience with inner city students is that the overwhelming majority want to learn, but the resources are very limited and the student/teacher ratio is awful. My ex back in the day taught at-risk “inner city” kids and we had to buy the kids books out of our own pockets. It was heartbreaking because they kids weren’t stupid and they could tell that society didn’t care about them.

As far a violent disruptions go, that’s often far overblown by fearful, white conservatives who’ve never set foot within an inner city school in their lives. Is there too much violence? Yes. But considering that many of these kids are dealing with gangs, incarcerated parents, parents on drugs, homeless/nomadic families, murdered relatives, etc. – it’s amazing how many at least WANT to rise above and learn despite the obstacles.

That is, if we as a society would simply help them (instead of demonizing, dismissing and ignoring them). You know, quit treating these kids like criminals?


Are you scapegoating Unions? Unions are nearly weaker than ever in the USA.


“arrests for flatulence”

you can try, flatfoot, but you’ll never corner Newbomb Turk!

perfect post! thoughts I’d never fully formed, completely and succinctly crystallized before my eyes. flawless!

When asked how a man dressed in black, wearing a mask and brandishing a sword was allowed to enter the school, officials cited their Zorro Tolerance Policy.

/stolen from Spider Robinson.


The problem isn’t unions. Cops have been unionized for decades, and this sort of problem has only become really endemic ever since 9/11. Nor is it a problem with unionized teachers. It’s all about parents who are willing to endorse and go along with zero-tolerance policies in the name of safety and security, and a public that is willing to give cops free reign.


The problem isn’t unions in general - it’s police unions very specifically. They’ve become nothing more than a tool to protect member cops, often no matter how much a threat those cops can be to the public. They’ve become the ultimate expression of “Protect and Serve - Ourselves.”

Unions can be great for workers, but they’re not always the answer to every situation.

Add on top of that the “war on cops” fiction that’s been trumped up for years, the general militarization of police forces around the country, recruiting veterans freshly returned from military duty overseas, plus the aftereffects of 9/11… it all adds up.

The police are no longer our friends, and more often than not see us as the enemy. Go ahead and take a tour of the comment sections. Remember, supposedly only certified officers are allowed to post there.


Dear north america: What the actual fuck.


Will Foucault ever be proven wrong?

The Wire Season 4, stat!

I’m an alumnus of an inner city school where a police officer was stationed to deal with the gang problem. He was not stuck with the job of run of the mill student discipline, and students LIKED to go to him because a discreet whisper to a teacher, and a secret meeting with him could be arranged where you could discuss things outside of school where you wanted to the police to know what you knew.


Top two problems:

  1. Ever increasing militarization of our police. Look in the last 20 years at the explosive growth of SWAT teams. Even smaller towns are getting them. The “us vs them” mental attitude is drilled into them. Slap on a gas mask or Balaclava and you get the psychological effects that go with it.

  2. Zero Tolerance = zero thinking. Everything in life happens within a context. The problem with zero tolerance is that any context is ignored. Punishment is metered out by brainless robots following a program. You end up with a kid bringing a 3" toy gun from their GI Joe being dealt the same punishment as one who brought an actual firearm.


No, I think the problem really is as simple as the presence of police in schools.

They’ve been trained to investigate crimes and make arrests. You can’t place them in an innocent environment like a school and expect them to just switch behavior patterns.

If people keep introducing bears to puppy farms, and the bears keep lashing out and attacking the puppies, the problem isn’t “a few bad bears” or “bears misinterpreting the puppies’ actions.” The problem is that bears have no business being on puppy farms in the first place.


“You design a school just like you design a prison,” has been a maxim in architecture schools for decades. Thus, frequently, they are designed by the same architecture firms.

And, evidently, are maintained the same way, as well.

FWIW, I think schools should be more like schools, not pretty prisons.

(Come to think of it, I believe prisons should be more like schools, too, but that’s another story.)


Though I do not support zero tolerance policies and am fortunate to teach in a school that does not have such policies, I get where they come from. Zero tolerance is tempting because it is "blind"justice. “We have a list of offenses, and a list of consequences and we apply them equally so we aren’t racist.” Equitable justice is not always equal. Equitable justice considers the context of the actions and behaviors. It considers the fact that children are inherently impulsive and respond to provocation intuitively. Equitable justice sometimes looks unfair from the outside. It’s much much easier to just say, “Rule” and “Consequence” then to figure out what happened, figure out why, figure out what the participants really needed/wanted, figure out how to teach them to avoid it in the future. Equitable justice takes time, and resources, and positive relationships, it’s hard. (Edited - deleted last sentence.)


The PoliceOne page on Emotionally Disturbed Persons is horrifying.