How “Zero” is “Zero Tolerance”?


On October 28th, a student was suspended for… doing the right thing.

An anonymous student in our very city (school unknown) was handed a boxcutter on the bus, with the ‘gifter’ running off before she could refuse. Going with the best option, the student turned the tool into staff, a move seen as the right thing. She was suspended for five days.

Unfortunately, the situation, with further context, only gets worse.

The student would be suspended during finals week, setting her detrimentally behind her otherwise excelling grades. Additionally, the suspension threatened her dreams of getting into the Air Force Academy and becoming one of the world’s youngest fighter pilots.

Thankfully, after the story reached widespread news coverage, the school revoked the action and its record. However, this series of events still calls to question various issues — the most prominent being that the school only went back on the decision after the public got ahold of it and sparked mass protest. One should not need mass protests to revoke a bad decision. To have this issue happen at all is scary for any good samaritan student, who wants to simply make the responsible actions that every school pushes.

This issue also calls into question the validity of implementing the zero-tolerance policy, where there are no exceptions to the rules, even for the betterment of the student body. Just as the zero-tolerance policy should have been changed immediately, reforms, or at least a check, should be made to make sure staff are abiding by the rules and responsibilities they tell to students.