Delaware Dad tells DSEA President like it is re: Zero Tolerance

Out of Tragedy Must Come Collective Action February 19, 2018 / DSEA President’s  Corner

Draconian penalties for students who make terrible mistakes – such as bringing a weapon to school without harming anyone – are a bulwark of structural racism and the main driver of the school-to-prison pipeline.

Affluent white parents simply send their children to private schools or move to a new district if their children make this dangerous, but historically common mistake. Poor black parents have their children’s education opportunities drastically reduced or cut off, and those children end up being harmed for a lifetime. Many of them end up in prison or in a life of crime, which could have been avoided by more humane treatment of mistakes which cost no lives.

This is the reality of our time. Advocating for ever harsher punishments for children in the name of reducing crime and suffering will inevitably create more criminals, more suffering. It is a simple fact that children do not make decisions based on comprehensive understanding of laws and consequences, and will make mistakes. As long as we pursue “zero tolerance” and economic and social factors give affluent white kids the ability to avoid consequences the poor cannot escape, we create more prisoners, more criminals, more suffering, and that process will primarily harm children of color.

Zero tolerance makes zero sense when applied to children. Mistakes that cost no lives are fundamentally not a problem that should be addressed by draconian, racist, counterproductive punishments.

I agree 100% with Delaware Dad! And not keeping a grip on the causes of the latest crisis in Florida is counter productive. In Florida we had a mental health services and FBI breakdown.  Treating every student behavior infraction as a potential risk of deadly violence demonstrates public schools don’t have the right tools to be a partner in addressing mental health needs of students. As for minority students, we have an epidemic of death and destruction on the streets of America and Delaware. Gun violence on the street is out of control and often the victim is young black males. Sadly it takes events such as in Florida where a massive deaths take place we rally together. But rest assure, far more black young men and girls are killed on the streets of America each year. Perhaps minority teachers, staff and students walkout of school in protest. Hopefully students can make “their” voices heard without manipulation of the extreme political left who attack the president and see no wrong in children in social media calling the president an MF’er. 

Zero tolerance for deadly weapons in schools are one thing. But schools going on the offensive and deeming every negative word or actions of a student as potential life threatening raises concerns about our schools ability to effectively make real change in overall school safety as it related to these terrible incidents.  

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2 responses to “Delaware Dad tells DSEA President like it is re: Zero Tolerance

  1. Steven Fackenthall

    “Zero tolerance for deadly weapons in schools are one thing. But schools going on the offensive and deeming every negative word or actions of a student as potential life threatening raises concerns about our schools ability to effectively make real change in overall school safety as it related to these terrible incidents.”

    So what do you suggest schools do? If a “negative word or action” is stated and a school/district does nothing and something happens, who is to blame? At what point does it become an issue? Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd? At what point would a threat become “credible”. “Oh, Johnny is just in Kindergarten, he didn’t mean to say that”. “Oh Suzy is just in first grade, there is no harm there”. “Oh Harold is just a kind little 2nd grader, he would never do say such a thing”.

    My apologies, Kilroy, if I have taken what you meant out of context, but that is how I see this.

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    • kilroysdelaware

      Steve, I just put my spin on what Delaware Dad wrote. His comment seems to be concern with racial bias impact laced in zero tolerance. I guess my point is, not all negative behavior suggest the student is going to shoot up the school. and to support your point, if the student’s negative behavior in the eyes of the teachers doesn’t seem to warrant concerns whereas it just simple detention but turns out the student does something deadly then the teacher gets blame for bad judgement call, Beside the real concerns about a bad event, the teacher will be put on the front-line (is now) re: liability. So in my opinion, the response to what just happen in Florida is, we need to see equal action on the need for more intense metal health intervention and addressing the background checks and any ban on certain weapons. The mental health issues can’t be laid on the schools and must be on the state to what action need to be taken. No disrespect but teachers are not social workers or mental health specialist. If a teacher sees that a student she referred to office is not getting help or serious problems persist they should be able to contact authorities. But what would the backlash on the teacher from the school or district? We can’t have a system where teachers are on the front-line to protect and to blame. Then again we can’t treat every adolescent negative behavior as a crime just as a safe guard. And then there is Delaware Dad’s point of view and concern

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