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(The Eagle Tribune)   HS volleyball captain and honor student demoted and suspended for five games, because she drove to a party to pick up a friend who was too drunk to drive   (eagletribune.com) divider line 112
    More: Asinine, North Andover, WBZ-TV, drug possession, honors student  
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9133 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Oct 2013 at 5:00 AM (46 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-15 08:08:13 AM

jaayjones: "She might as well just let it go, when you're dealing with primary and secondary-school administrators, you're not really dealing with the cream of the crop of civil servants and stupid sometimes happens,  "

As opposed to the genius in the Whitehouse


Well, it was a choice between him, and a guy who believes in magic underwear.

Not really all that hard, frankly, this being the 21st century and all.
 
2013-10-15 08:09:41 AM

RoyBatty: Due to their choice of attorney, which may or may not be their fault, I find it difficult to believe anything they are saying.

I am not saying they are lying. I am not saying the girl did anything wrong. I am very glad they have an attorney - I think more parents should sue zero tolerance policies, I am saying Wendy Murphy is a media whore and a known liar and her association with the family makes me more skeptical than I might otherwise be.

She makes Gloria Allred seem balanced.


I noticed that, too. I remember Wendy Murphy from the Duke Lacrosse case. She was one of the few people who took the accuser's side and never let anything like evidence or logic sway her opinion. I could never tell whether she really was that ideologically dense, or if she knew that such a position guaranteed her airtime and attention since most everyone else realized that the accuser was lying and Nifong was railroading the accused. As far as I know, she's never acknowledged that she was wrong about the case.

That being said, in this case I still take the girl's side rather than the school's. (Stopped clocks and all that.) Until proven otherwise, I see this as Zero Tolerance run amok, and I hope this story goes viral and brings national attention onto the school. Zero Tolerance is a scourge upon schools that needs to stop. In fact, having a lawyer who is no stranger to the media might be exactly what this case needs, so in this instance, Wendy Murphy might be the person you want on your side.
 
2013-10-15 08:10:37 AM

Whole Wheat: So when did schools become the new stupid?


They've been trending toward that for awhile now.
 
2013-10-15 08:12:22 AM

Harv72b: So is this the high school newspaper, or do they just have really, really bad writers (and editors)?


Really, really bad everything. The Eagle Tribune is so right wing, they think George Bush was a little too socialist.
 
2013-10-15 08:18:46 AM

aevorea: This section of MA isn't the greatest, intellectually.


Phillips Academy?
 
2013-10-15 08:20:24 AM

Fizpez: Yeah lets ruin the finances of thousands of districts and their staff and destroy the education of hundreds of thousands or even millions of students.


If that's what it takes to draw enough attention to the issue to get it fixed, then sure!
 
2013-10-15 08:21:13 AM

Omahawg: she knew what she was getting into


maryville, missouri has a lovely courthouse, incidentally


Is that where Matthew Barnett, rapist, should be?
 
2013-10-15 08:23:46 AM

Malacon: Nogale: I don't understand how not being drunk/on drugs and not being in possession of drugs/alcohol violates the "don't drink/do drugs" policy.

I bet it's because of a Zero Tolerance Policy that states something to the effect of simply being at a party where drugs/alcohol is being consumed is against the rules. Even if you showed up after the cops and were cleared by them. Being present = Guilty.


Ooh, that opens up a lot of possibilities. Throw a party on the principal's front lawn, and make sure the school board fires HIM for "being at a party where drugs/alcohol is being consumed". Or point out that the entire school board has "drugs" in their houses. (School rules are usually written such that even things like aspirin and Advil are considered "drugs" worth of discipline.)
 
2013-10-15 08:36:39 AM
Two things

Two weeks ago, Cox received a call from a friend at a party who was too drink to drive.

Apparently someone was too drunk to proofread. And

"She's very fragile and I'm worried about her. Very worried about her.

Now may be a good time to teach her life isn't fair. If she believes she's been treated unfairly, fight it. Otherwise sack up and deal with it.
 
2013-10-15 08:37:10 AM

Cybernetic: School districts love zero tolerance because it relieves the administrators of having to exercise any sort of judgement, and of subsequently being held accountable for their decisions. They can just point to the policy and say, "We had no choice, we had to follow the policy."

It's not just asinine, it's cowardly.


This. I was bullied by a family of rednecks from the day I stepped on my school bus in 4th grade. There were five brothers and sisters, some in high school, and they would hit me, make fun of me and steal my stuff and throw it out of the window. Every time they started a fight with me, we BOTH got in trouble because "zero tolerance". Yes, a 4th grader is really going to be able to do anything against a gang of older students. I got suspended from that bus so many times because the bus driver was too damn chicken to do anything about it. It actually DROVE me to fight because I had no choice.

The happiest day of my life was getting my license so I could drive to school.
 
2013-10-15 08:39:22 AM

Fizpez: Malky: Schools should not have rules that apply outside their property lines.  If something happens outside of school let the law deal with it.  There should be a collective of lawyers that do nothing but sue schools for retarded overreaching like this.  Unless its a private school that makes you sign a huge bs contract.  Public schools should be forced back into their box by running out of funds through lawsuits.

Yeah lets ruin the finances of thousands of districts and their staff and destroy the education of hundreds of thousands or even millions of students.  Even better are the property owners who now pay property taxes to support thousands of lawyers instead of their local community.

The solution is obviously laws that limit the schools jurisdiction (and legal liability) to things directly on the school property or events which are school sanctioned/sponsored events.   Of course, good luck getting THAT set of laws passed.

Barring those laws the schools respond this way because time and time again they HAVE been sued when a student gets injured or killed outside of school control and the argument is made that they  shouldhave known a huge party was going on that weekend because the kids were talking about it and  shouldhave taken steps to prevent the injury/event.

I have no doubt that there are busybodies who think they should get to control every single minute of their students lives, but the school administrators I have known have actually been VERY reasonable people who (always on legal advice) have to make these contracts/rules/enforcement guidelines to limit the legal exposure of the school in the event of a lawsuit.  Being dragged in to court and having the opposing lawyer ask what policies you have in effect to limit student risk and saying "They're outside of our control in situation blah blah blah" will get the school found at least partially liable - and in a multi-million dollar lawsuit being found even 10% liable borks the finances of those scho ...


Citation needed
 
2013-10-15 08:56:40 AM

GBB: Easy fix: have the entire volleyball team quit in protest.
Who wants to be on a team that's managed by idiots anyway?


I was kind of thinking the idiots could go full stupid, and suspend the entire team for at one time or another going into a store selling beer or watching a family member drinking a beer.  You know, to keep things fair.
 
2013-10-15 09:13:31 AM
That'll teach her not to do the right thing ever again.  This is like that student who accidentally brought a knife to a school football game and chose to own up to it by immediately turning it in to school officials, who threw the book at him and suspended him anyway.
 
2013-10-15 09:13:43 AM
To be fair, if I were at an under-aged drinking party with a car, and wasn't very drunk, I'd try to use the "I just arrived to drive someone home" excuse.  This kid seems bright, she'll get over this, it's not going to hurt her chances at life.  The thing I'd have found annoying would have been my mother calling me "fragile" in the local press.
 
2013-10-15 09:15:21 AM

WTFDYW: Fizpez: Malky: Schools should not have rules that apply outside their property lines.  If something happens outside of school let the law deal with it.  There should be a collective of lawyers that do nothing but sue schools for retarded overreaching like this.  Unless its a private school that makes you sign a huge bs contract.  Public schools should be forced back into their box by running out of funds through lawsuits.

Yeah lets ruin the finances of thousands of districts and their staff and destroy the education of hundreds of thousands or even millions of students.  Even better are the property owners who now pay property taxes to support thousands of lawyers instead of their local community.

The solution is obviously laws that limit the schools jurisdiction (and legal liability) to things directly on the school property or events which are school sanctioned/sponsored events.   Of course, good luck getting THAT set of laws passed.

Barring those laws the schools respond this way because time and time again they HAVE been sued when a student gets injured or killed outside of school control and the argument is made that they  shouldhave known a huge party was going on that weekend because the kids were talking about it and  shouldhave taken steps to prevent the injury/event.

I have no doubt that there are busybodies who think they should get to control every single minute of their students lives, but the school administrators I have known have actually been VERY reasonable people who (always on legal advice) have to make these contracts/rules/enforcement guidelines to limit the legal exposure of the school in the event of a lawsuit.  Being dragged in to court and having the opposing lawyer ask what policies you have in effect to limit student risk and saying "They're outside of our control in situation blah blah blah" will get the school found at least partially liable - and in a multi-million dollar lawsuit being found even 10% liable borks the finances of th ...


Here's a link to the California legal summary - it has the legal reasoning behind their policies.  Most states and schools have similiar documentation.
http://faculty.fullerton.edu/lorozco/lawglaeser.pdf

And while schools are "generally" not liable for non-school activities there are always exceptions and extenuating circumstances - and for the most part losing the lawsuit is a worst case scenario but simply being sued is still a disaster (cost, public relations, etc.)
 
2013-10-15 09:17:47 AM

Fizpez: WTFDYW: Fizpez: Malky: Schools should not have rules that apply outside their property lines.  If something happens outside of school let the law deal with it.  There should be a collective of lawyers that do nothing but sue schools for retarded overreaching like this.  Unless its a private school that makes you sign a huge bs contract.  Public schools should be forced back into their box by running out of funds through lawsuits.

Yeah lets ruin the finances of thousands of districts and their staff and destroy the education of hundreds of thousands or even millions of students.  Even better are the property owners who now pay property taxes to support thousands of lawyers instead of their local community.

The solution is obviously laws that limit the schools jurisdiction (and legal liability) to things directly on the school property or events which are school sanctioned/sponsored events.   Of course, good luck getting THAT set of laws passed.

Barring those laws the schools respond this way because time and time again they HAVE been sued when a student gets injured or killed outside of school control and the argument is made that they  shouldhave known a huge party was going on that weekend because the kids were talking about it and  shouldhave taken steps to prevent the injury/event.

I have no doubt that there are busybodies who think they should get to control every single minute of their students lives, but the school administrators I have known have actually been VERY reasonable people who (always on legal advice) have to make these contracts/rules/enforcement guidelines to limit the legal exposure of the school in the event of a lawsuit.  Being dragged in to court and having the opposing lawyer ask what policies you have in effect to limit student risk and saying "They're outside of our control in situation blah blah blah" will get the school found at least partially liable - and in a multi-million dollar lawsuit being found even 10% liable borks the financ ...


Thank you.
 
2013-10-15 09:18:36 AM

Fizpez: Look, I 100% agree it's stupid and it sucks but the schools are in full "turtle mode" when it comes to legal challenges - they want to be able to say "We have done EVERYTHING we could, please go away"  We get pissed when a situation which obviously calls for a little tact and thought makes the press but day in and day out its these idiotic policies that limit how much they get sued.



Unfortunately, letting everyone get away with pointing fingers at policies and lawyers is exactly what the despicable people who promote zero-tolerance policies are trying to achieve.

"Turtle mode" is perceived as easier and safer than attempting to behave ethically or responsibly. If we could find a way to make this form of turtling intolerably damaging, *maybe* we'd begin to see conduct defensible on its own merits rather than bad acts shielded by the existence of an idiotic policy.

/imagine the people responsible for educating children *not* modelling cowardly abdication of responsibility
//not disagreeing, just sayin'
 
2013-10-15 09:20:05 AM
Something similar happened to a kid on our high school's baseball team a couple years ago, but no one made a federal case out of it.
 
2013-10-15 09:22:09 AM

Malky: Schools should not have rules that apply outside their property lines.  If something happens outside of school let the law deal with it.  There should be a collective of lawyers that do nothing but sue schools for retarded overreaching like this.  Unless its a private school that makes you sign a huge bs contract.  Public schools should be forced back into their box by running out of funds through lawsuits.


Why would the administrators care? The lawsuit money isn't coming out of payroll. Cut that shiat it of textbooks and the computer lab. If its a real emergency, cut it from football.
 
2013-10-15 09:29:36 AM
"God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board." - Mark Twain
 
2013-10-15 09:33:29 AM
I think Sara Brown might have been drink while writing horrendous mess.

/What is an editor?
 
2013-10-15 09:35:42 AM

Cybernetic: School districts love zero tolerance because it relieves the administrators of having to exercise any sort of judgement, and of subsequently being held accountable for their decisions. They can just point to the policy and say, "We had no choice, we had to follow the policy."

It's not just asinine, it's cowardly.


They also exist because parents have sued the districts because a fellow student, off school grounds, did something mean to their snowflake.
 
2013-10-15 09:40:39 AM

Fizpez: Monkeyfark Ridiculous: Fizpez: Malky: Schools should not have rules that apply outside their property lines.  If something happens outside of school let the law deal with it.  There should be a collective of lawyers that do nothing but sue schools for retarded overreaching like this.  Unless its a private school that makes you sign a huge bs contract.  Public schools should be forced back into their box by running out of funds through lawsuits.

Yeah lets ruin the finances of thousands of districts and their staff and destroy the education of hundreds of thousands or even millions of students.  Even better are the property owners who now pay property taxes to support thousands of lawyers instead of their local community.

So your theory is that as between declining to overreach in this way, and insisting on it even at the cost of "destroy[ing] the education of...millions of students," these districts and their staff would insist on overreaching? That may be true of administration martinets, but I'd bet the parents and taxpayers would begin to object at some point prior to that.

Read my post again - the policies are generally not an attempt to "overreach" - the lawyers basically write the policies - the "zero thinking = zero tolerance" is pretty much correct except the zero thinking is specifically designed that way.  The reason being if there is no lattitude then there can be no discrimination - and nothing will get you sued faster than either a) "violating" someone's civil rights or b) violating their IEP/504 plan.

Look, I 100% agree it's stupid and it sucks but the schools are in full "turtle mode" when it comes to legal challenges - they want to be able to say "We have done EVERYTHING we could, please go away"  We get pissed when a situation which obviously calls for a little tact and thought makes the press but day in and day out its these idiotic policies that limit how much they get sued.


....except they got sued this time because of the policy.
 
2013-10-15 09:48:09 AM

EvilEgg: Best to learn how to deal with petty bureaucrats early.


I'm starting to come around on on my opinion of zero tolerance policies. Sucks for the kids caught up in them, but it's a pretty good life lesson. Keep your head down and your mouth shut, even if you are doing the right thing.
 
2013-10-15 09:51:17 AM
This sucks for her.  That's obvious.  But there was an easy way around this, assuming that she was aware of the strict, zero tollerance policy.

All she had to do was have her friend walk down the street.  Away from the party.  Pick her up there.  The friend was coherant enough to call for a ride.  I'm sure she could walk a couple of hundred yards.
 
2013-10-15 09:57:07 AM
I didn't think my rage could boil over more in this situation until I read this:

"She's very fragile and I'm worried about her. Very worried about her. She didn't do anything wrong," Erin's mother,

Now this really pisses me off. If she was "very fragile" she wouldn't have snuck out of the house at night to drive her drunk ass friends home.  She's not fragile, she seems to be a very mature young women who know how to make the right choices so far in life.
 
2013-10-15 10:02:04 AM

durbnpoisn: This sucks for her.  That's obvious.  But there was an easy way around this, assuming that she was aware of the strict, zero tollerance policy.

All she had to do was have her friend walk down the street.  Away from the party.  Pick her up there.  The friend was coherant enough to call for a ride.  I'm sure she could walk a couple of hundred yards.


Right, like Madison was going to, like, leave the party right away. Hayden was, like, totally crushing on her and he is just SO hot, OMG
 
2013-10-15 10:06:07 AM

dennysgod: I didn't think my rage could boil over more in this situation until I read this:

"She's very fragile and I'm worried about her. Very worried about her. She didn't do anything wrong," Erin's mother,

Now this really pisses me off. If she was "very fragile" she wouldn't have snuck out of the house at night to drive her drunk ass friends home.  She's not fragile, she seems to be a very mature young women who know how to make the right choices so far in life.


Unfounded rage is the funniest kind of rage!
 
2013-10-15 10:06:20 AM

durbnpoisn: This sucks for her.  That's obvious.  But there was an easy way around this, assuming that she was aware of the strict, zero tollerance policy.

All she had to do was have her friend walk down the street.  Away from the party.  Pick her up there.  The friend was coherant enough to call for a ride.  I'm sure she could walk a couple of hundred yards.


I am sure the alternative she is being told is to call an adult to pick up the friend, and let her friend face the consequences on her own.  This is the wiser choice, since no one could punish her anymore than just losing a friend who makes poor choices.  No, I don't think the punishment matches the crime, however she isn't clean in this.  As she did try to help her friend cover up a legal wrong.

/I know I don't sound fun, but I have managed to not get arrested.
 
2013-10-15 10:08:31 AM

genner: Fizpez: Monkeyfark Ridiculous: Fizpez: Malky: Schools should not have rules that apply outside their property lines.  If something happens outside of school let the law deal with it.  There should be a collective of lawyers that do nothing but sue schools for retarded overreaching like this.  Unless its a private school that makes you sign a huge bs contract.  Public schools should be forced back into their box by running out of funds through lawsuits.

Yeah lets ruin the finances of thousands of districts and their staff and destroy the education of hundreds of thousands or even millions of students.  Even better are the property owners who now pay property taxes to support thousands of lawyers instead of their local community.

So your theory is that as between declining to overreach in this way, and insisting on it even at the cost of "destroy[ing] the education of...millions of students," these districts and their staff would insist on overreaching? That may be true of administration martinets, but I'd bet the parents and taxpayers would begin to object at some point prior to that.

Read my post again - the policies are generally not an attempt to "overreach" - the lawyers basically write the policies - the "zero thinking = zero tolerance" is pretty much correct except the zero thinking is specifically designed that way.  The reason being if there is no lattitude then there can be no discrimination - and nothing will get you sued faster than either a) "violating" someone's civil rights or b) violating their IEP/504 plan.

Look, I 100% agree it's stupid and it sucks but the schools are in full "turtle mode" when it comes to legal challenges - they want to be able to say "We have done EVERYTHING we could, please go away"  We get pissed when a situation which obviously calls for a little tact and thought makes the press but day in and day out its these idiotic policies that limit how much they get sued.

....except they got sued this time because of the policy.


Exactly, but there is no perfect course - the schools have devolved to the least objectionable policy among all bad options.  The important point being that "least objectionable" is the one that gets them sued the least and if they are sued provides them the most legal cover from judgements.  Yes, it sucks, yes, it's stupid, but it's generally (not always) not the schools fault.
 
2013-10-15 10:12:00 AM

Cybernetic: School districts love zero tolerance because it relieves the administrators of having to exercise any sort of judgement, and of subsequently being held accountable for their decisions. They can just point to the policy and say, "We had no choice, we had to follow the policy."

It's not just asinine, it's cowardly.


So much this.  If you never have to make any decisions you can't be fired for making bad ones.
 
2013-10-15 10:23:49 AM

Cybernetic: School districts love zero tolerance because it relieves the administrators of having to exercise any sort of judgement, and of subsequently being held accountable for their decisions. They can just point to the policy and say, "We had no choice, we had to follow the policy."

It's not just asinine, it's cowardly.


The flipside of that is that when discipline is discretionary, the potential for uneven application (or perceived unequal application) is a pandora's box of trouble.  Inflexible guidelines are somewhat needed to protect the school admins from well heeled connected parents, or AWing, professional victim parents.
 
2013-10-15 10:27:37 AM

lack of warmth: durbnpoisn: This sucks for her.  That's obvious.  But there was an easy way around this, assuming that she was aware of the strict, zero tollerance policy.

All she had to do was have her friend walk down the street.  Away from the party.  Pick her up there.  The friend was coherant enough to call for a ride.  I'm sure she could walk a couple of hundred yards.

I am sure the alternative she is being told is to call an adult to pick up the friend, and let her friend face the consequences on her own.  This is the wiser choice, since no one could punish her anymore than just losing a friend who makes poor choices.  No, I don't think the punishment matches the crime, however she isn't clean in this.  As she did try to help her friend cover up a legal wrong.

/I know I don't sound fun, but I have managed to not get arrested.


Okay.  So clearly the friend didn't want her parents to find out.  And look at where that got her.
But you're correct on one thing...  The wisest choice of all would have been for the girl to go to her mother and say, "Can you please help me go pick up my friend?"

I know if the situation were to occur in my family, and it was my daughter who's friend needed help, my wife or I would pick up the friend without a 2nd thought.  And if the friend's parents got pissed about it, I would personally tell them to go fark themselves.
 
2013-10-15 10:34:49 AM

MycroftHolmes: Cybernetic: School districts love zero tolerance because it relieves the administrators of having to exercise any sort of judgement, and of subsequently being held accountable for their decisions. They can just point to the policy and say, "We had no choice, we had to follow the policy."

It's not just asinine, it's cowardly.

The flipside of that is that when discipline is discretionary, the potential for uneven application (or perceived unequal application) is a pandora's box of trouble.  Inflexible guidelines are somewhat needed to protect the school admins from well heeled connected parents, or AWing, professional victim parents.


I can almost agree with this argument in a general sense, I can get behind the idea that people who commit the same offense should get the same punishment.  Where I get pissed at schools and zero tolerance is that they also tend to create stupidly over-broad offenses that insure they will catch people who haven't really done anything worthy of punishment, and then the zero tolerance policy deprives them of the discretion to rectify that mistake.

For example, I think it's perfectly reasonable to punish people who are caught by the police for under-age drinking, but punishing everyone who happens to be in the same area as anyone who drinks even if they weren't drinking and weren't supplying the alcohol, no matter how long they were there, or how they came to be there is effing stupid.  Such a policy is just going to inevitably entrap someone who is completely innocent of any wrongdoing (as it appears to have in this case) and then having the system set up in such a way that no one can do anything to correct that fact, because ZERO TOLERANCE, doubles down on the insanity of the policy in the first place.
 
2013-10-15 10:39:05 AM

NoDitchDigging: That'll teach her not to do the right thing ever again.  This is like that student who accidentally brought a knife to a school football game and chose to own up to it by immediately turning it in to school officials, who threw the book at him and suspended him anyway.


Schools seem to be very good at teaching people to never do the right thing lately.  Apparently considering the long term effects of actions is not in their capabilities.
 
2013-10-15 10:39:28 AM
I didn't think women played volleyball.  If only there were photographic evidence of this occuring...
 
2013-10-15 10:50:02 AM

Noticeably F.A.T.: EvilEgg: Best to learn how to deal with petty bureaucrats early.

I'm starting to come around on on my opinion of zero tolerance policies. Sucks for the kids caught up in them, but it's a pretty good life lesson. Keep your head down and your mouth shut, even if you are doing the right thing.


I make this point to my kids pretty regularly: the rules may be asinine, but they are the rules, and you violate them at your peril.

I think that zero-tolerance policies are idiotic, but if my kids are in a school that has one, I make sure that they are aware of it and how to live with it. For example, my kids understand that they will never get in trouble with ME for defending themselves if they are physically attacked, but that the school will not see it that way, and that they will be punished for fighting even if they are only defending themselves. Therefore, it is in their best interest to avoid fights at all costs.
 
2013-10-15 10:55:10 AM
We seem to have missed the point here.  This thread is about volleyball chicks.
 
2013-10-15 11:02:11 AM

ucfknightryan: MycroftHolmes: Cybernetic: School districts love zero tolerance because it relieves the administrators of having to exercise any sort of judgement, and of subsequently being held accountable for their decisions. They can just point to the policy and say, "We had no choice, we had to follow the policy."

It's not just asinine, it's cowardly.

The flipside of that is that when discipline is discretionary, the potential for uneven application (or perceived unequal application) is a pandora's box of trouble.  Inflexible guidelines are somewhat needed to protect the school admins from well heeled connected parents, or AWing, professional victim parents.

I can almost agree with this argument in a general sense, I can get behind the idea that people who commit the same offense should get the same punishment.  Where I get pissed at schools and zero tolerance is that they also tend to create stupidly over-broad offenses that insure they will catch people who haven't really done anything worthy of punishment, and then the zero tolerance policy deprives them of the discretion to rectify that mistake.

For example, I think it's perfectly reasonable to punish people who are caught by the police for under-age drinking, but punishing everyone who happens to be in the same area as anyone who drinks even if they weren't drinking and weren't supplying the alcohol, no matter how long they were there, or how they came to be there is effing stupid.  Such a policy is just going to inevitably entrap someone who is completely innocent of any wrongdoing (as it appears to have in this case) and then having the system set up in such a way that no one can do anything to correct that fact, because ZERO TOLERANCE, doubles down on the insanity of the policy in the first place.


Also, it's valuable for administrators to have some discretion because not all students are the same. A good kid who does one stupid thing might not warrant the same punishment as a kid with a long history of disciplinary problems. But under zero-tolerance policies, that's what they get.

Administrators should have the same kind of discretion that allows a cop to let a speeder off with a warning instead of a ticket if their overall driving record is clean. And the administrators should exercise that discretion knowing that they may have to defend their decisions.
 
2013-10-15 11:13:21 AM

ucfknightryan: MycroftHolmes: Cybernetic: School districts love zero tolerance because it relieves the administrators of having to exercise any sort of judgement, and of subsequently being held accountable for their decisions. They can just point to the policy and say, "We had no choice, we had to follow the policy."

It's not just asinine, it's cowardly.

The flipside of that is that when discipline is discretionary, the potential for uneven application (or perceived unequal application) is a pandora's box of trouble.  Inflexible guidelines are somewhat needed to protect the school admins from well heeled connected parents, or AWing, professional victim parents.

I can almost agree with this argument in a general sense, I can get behind the idea that people who commit the same offense should get the same punishment.  Where I get pissed at schools and zero tolerance is that they also tend to create stupidly over-broad offenses that insure they will catch people who haven't really done anything worthy of punishment, and then the zero tolerance policy deprives them of the discretion to rectify that mistake.

For example, I think it's perfectly reasonable to punish people who are caught by the police for under-age drinking, but punishing everyone who happens to be in the same area as anyone who drinks even if they weren't drinking and weren't supplying the alcohol, no matter how long they were there, or how they came to be there is effing stupid.  Such a policy is just going to inevitably entrap someone who is completely innocent of any wrongdoing (as it appears to have in this case) and then having the system set up in such a way that no one can do anything to correct that fact, because ZERO TOLERANCE, doubles down on the insanity of the policy in the first place.


There is the principle behind zero tolerance rules, and the application.  I will challenge you to do this, though.  Try to come up with an enforceable rule that has clearly defined boundaries that 1) punishes those that do wrong, but 2) does not punish those that did not do wrong.  It is hard to come up with a rule (or a law) that concurrently has no loopholes that is also not overly strict.

The way it worked when I was in school (back when dinosaurs walked the earth) was that the local principles had little discretion, but that a hearing with a senior administrator at the main office could reverse a zero tolerance rule.  But even then, I can see how that much discretion could easily be used to abuse.
 
2013-10-15 11:29:05 AM

MycroftHolmes: There is the principle behind zero tolerance rules, and the application.  I will challenge you to do this, though.  Try to come up with an enforceable rule that has clearly defined boundaries that 1) punishes those that do wrong, but 2) does not punish those that did not do wrong.  It is hard to come up with a rule (or a law) that concurrently has no loopholes that is also not overly strict.

The way it worked when I was in school (back when dinosaurs walked the earth) was that the local principles had little discretion, but that a hearing with a senior administrator at the main office could reverse a zero tolerance rule.  But even then, I can see how that much discretion could easily be used to abuse.


Oh I agree it's hard, I just feel that erring on the side of punishing the innocent to make sure you get all of the guilty is not the correct way to construct rules.
 
2013-10-15 11:31:13 AM

Fizpez: Exactly, but there is no perfect course - the schools have devolved to the least objectionable policy among all bad options. The important point being that "least objectionable" is the one that gets them sued the least and if they are sued provides them the most legal cover from judgements. Yes, it sucks, yes, it's stupid, but it's generally (not always) not the schools fault.


Yes it is. Even if you can make the argument that it's for the greater good, this school is responsible for messing with this girl. They made the call, even if it's a hard call to make. They need to live with the consequences.
 
2013-10-15 11:40:17 AM

Fark_Guy_Rob: RoyBatty: Due to their choice of attorney, which may or may not be their fault, I find it difficult to believe anything they are saying.

I am not saying they are lying. I am not saying the girl did anything wrong. I am very glad they have an attorney - I think more parents should sue zero tolerance policies, I am saying Wendy Murphy is a media whore and a known liar and her association with the family makes me more skeptical than I might otherwise be.

She makes Gloria Allred seem balanced.

I'd agree, but (at least according to the article):
Police arrested several students for underage possession of alcohol, however, Cox was cleared by police for not drinking or in the possession of alcohol

That's good enough for me.


Yeah, I can go with that, thanks.
 
2013-10-15 11:53:28 AM
So, if lawsuits are why we are in this mess of zero tolerance, can lawsuits against schools for assinine policies somehow reverse the polarity of derp?
 
2013-10-15 12:05:14 PM
The term "guilt by association" gets thrown around so much thses days, it nice to have an actual example of it...
 
2013-10-15 12:06:52 PM

FedExPope: So, if lawsuits are why we are in this mess of zero tolerance, can lawsuits against schools for assinine policies somehow reverse the polarity of derp?


Any problem can be solved with proper and sufficient application of money or C4.
 
2013-10-15 12:21:06 PM
Mel Gibson, Edge of Darkness

".. everything's illegal in Massachusetts .."
 
2013-10-15 12:26:55 PM

CarnySaur: So you're saying that women play volleyball?  I've never heard of such a concept, and am having difficulty visualizing it, so I think some photos would be helpful.


Wow. Nary a one. Sad tag is for a slippin' Fark.
 
2013-10-15 12:31:57 PM
Okay, fine. I'll do it:

i44.tinypic.com
 
2013-10-15 01:21:32 PM
Yeah the school district is not not gonna win on this one, They do not have a leg to stand on.   As soon as the school learned of her being cleared by the cops it should have dropped any thoughts of punishing the girl and lauded her good deed.
 
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