Media Consumption

Zero Tolerance Means Zero…

Kimberly posted about a girl that was expelled from school for 1 year for having Advil at school. There is more on the expulsion here: Advil: Little. Yellow. Delinquent.

I posted a long comment on her site, and I thought I would post it here too. I get annoyed when parents and the community demand certain rules and then are upset when the schools uphold the rules they set. Zero tolerance means ZERO. It doesn’t mean that if you have Advil, they will ignore it. It means you will be punished.

Back in the late ’70s or early ’80s, my Mom found one of the kids at the middle school where she taught had pills. Fortunately, my Dad is a pharmacist and was able to quickly identify them (I think they were aspirin), but teachers and schools shouldn’t have to worry about what the drugs are. We demand that they keep schools drug free and safe – so I don’t think they should overturn the expulsion. The zero-tolerance policy is generally laid out quite clearly at the beginning of the year, and if she chose not to follow it she chose the consequence.

I know it was just Advil – but what if it had been more? And kids can put anything in an Advil bottle – how are the teachers or administrators supposed to know what all the drugs are? They shouldn’t have to research the markings to verify them.

Don’t get me wrong – I actually hate so called “Zero Tolerance” policies because I feel that there are exceptions to almost every rule. But when it comes to drugs, I don’t want them in my child’s school. So if he broke the rules by bringing Tylenol to school and was punished for it, I would have to be understanding.

We can’t have it both ways.

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

15 replies on “Zero Tolerance Means Zero…”

I agree with what you’re getting at here – they made their bed by setting the zero tolerance rule and now they have to lie in it. If that were my kid I’d be severely pissed off – a year?!? – and would probably take issue with the school’s policy. A good alternative to this problem is to make sure the school nurses get certified or do what they need to be able to dispense drugs and keep little individual packets of Advil or whatever at the nurse’s station for sale. Let the kids come in and buy a couple of Advil, have the nurse watch them take it and send the kids on their way.

Thinking on it, aren’t most nurses required to be able to dispense drugs these days anyway? For the kids on Ritalin et al? I’m just thinking of my own school when I was growing up – the nurse couldn’t give any drugs or store anything like that. But times have changed, I guess.

A year is too long for that girl to be out of school. The school board should have seen these problems arising and made efforts to stop this from happening. No drugs means no drugs and you’re right – you can put anything into a pill bottle or, indeed, a capsule but if my kid was generally a good kid who, I don’t know, had PMS cramps and got busted with Advil I’d take real issue with this policy and expulsion.

I make sure my kids take their drugs before they go to school and after they get home. 😉 Just kidding. Our schools here let the parents submit a written form that the school gives us so that they can keep Tylenol, Motrin, etc. in the nurses office and take it when they need it. This reminds me, thanks girl! The youngest needs to get one, guess what she’s finally become? 😉 Ah, what I would give to be a 14 year old again…NOTHING! I will be glad when she’s out of high school, can’t happen to soon for me!

Our school did that too when I was growing up – if you needed Advil, you brought it in, checked it in to the nurses’ office, and then went there when you needed to take it.

A year is a long punishment, I agree. But as parents we are always clammering for them to crack down and get tough. It’s unfortunate that getting tough cracked down on this kid – maybe it will make parents stop and think about what they are demanding from their schools?

A year is not too long. Zero=zero. Year=year. Period. You could take ANYTHING you wanted to take to my high school as long as it was in a generic Tylenol bottle. No one knows what the store brands are “supposed” to look like. I know plenty of kids who took some seriously nasty stuff to school under the guise of generic Tylenol.

If this girl had something more dangerous and then OD’d or sold it to some kid, do you think the school would get any slack?

Christine is right. The kid deserved it and should be suspended. Sorry, but that’s the way it goes. Welcome to life. Would anyone tolerate a fake, plastic gun/knife/atom bomb? No.

Zero=zero. Drugs=drugs (just some of them make the lights prettier than others!)

There was also a story of parents that packed a girl’s lunch (steak and rice —leftovers) and put in a knife in her lunch bag for the steak. When discovered the girl was expelled. The funny thing is that it was the parents fault for packing the lunch. MAybe they should of cut her steak in little pieces at home. This is a perfect example of why zero tolerance laws need to be looked over. She didna’t deserve to be expelled.

Zero Tolerance is stupidity on a par with mandatory sentencing- it strips any subjective analysis from the situation. As fucked up as this country is, to deny ANY child a year of education in the name of “protecting” them is in itself criminal. Let the punishment fit the crime and the situation. I guarantee that if she had gotten 40 hours of community service, it would’ve still gotten everyone’s attention, she’d still be afforded an educational opportunity, AND some good would’ve come of it. It’s because Zero Tolerance doesn’t require people to THINK that it’s become so damn popular.

I think it’s good that zero tolerance ACTUALLY means zero tolerance. At my school they have a zero tolerance policy, but the teachers will let you get out of class to go take pills. Doesn’t matter what KIND of pills, if you say “it’s time for me to take my pills” they’ll let you leave. In fact, my school is so lax about this type of thing, a kid put vodka into his coke and went into class. We’re not supposed to have drinks in class unless its water in a clear container, but the teacher of that class doesn’t really care what the kids do there. He got busted, and I think he was sent to the office. That’s it. Vodka in class. Office. Big deal. The very same kid didn’t even get busted for smoking dope 30 minutes before we had a lock down and the drug sniffing dogs came into school.

I wish my school were like that. Yeah, it would add a little stress for me to have to go to the nurse to get my advil all the time (but maybe then I wouldn’t be taking it in such lethal doses). That way, people might care about their school. Advil, acid, vodka, dope. Really, its all the same; in the end you’re headache goes away!

Dave – that’s pretty much what I was driving at, but if you’ll notice my timestamp I wasn’t exactly as sharp as I am at the moment. So I’ll just say, “Yeah, what Dave said.”

It’s stuff like the steak knife incident that really piss me off. The child is punished because a parent didn’t think. It happens, mistakes are made, but if you take it into context instead of enforcing this zero tolerance policy then stories like this wouldn’t be headlines. It’s like that guy in the English soccer league – I can’t remember the details but because of a situation totally beyond his control (miscommunication, whatever) he missed a standard, mandatory drug test. Once he learned he’d missed it he wanted to take it right away but – oops! – sorry ’bout your luck but you’re facing a ban on your entire livelihood.

The punishments here do not fit the crimes. There are always shades of grey but people who enforce the rules and laws are so worried about making a mistake and having their asses handed to them on a platter that they err (and error) on the side of extreme caution instead of exercising some common sense.

I think there shouldn’t be any zero tolerance policies – and that parents need to pay attention to what is happening at their child’s school, and when they see a zero tolerance policy implemented, they should fight it. Otherwise, it could be their own children that end up with a punishment like this one that doesn’t fit the crime.

However, I also think she should have taken her Advil to the office instead of carrying it around, especially since whe was probably aware of the policy this far in to the school year.

i remember having to bring my medicine to the nurse’s office and then visiting her when i had to take it. i never carried it around with me. i don’t even think i took Advil until after i turned 18.

I don’t agree with the zero tolerance policy. I believe it’s a policy based on laziness. The parents, the educators, nobody has the time to actually discipline or educate these children or review the circumstances of an infraction.

Advil is not the same as thing as an illegal drug.

I had a nephew who spent two days in the hospital because the school felt it best to keep his asthma inhaler locked in an office instead of allowing him to carrying it. When he had an attack in class, the teacher freaked and being ignorant of his condition failed to get him his inhaler.

That’s the upside of zero tolerance policies.

If the schools were small enough and class sizes were low enough that teachers could get to know kids, they’d have a much better idea of whether the kids were actually carrying Advil or something stronger.

A sophomore in high school should be old enough to carry Advil without people having a cow. And I say that as someone who intended at one time to teach high schools. It’s BS like zero tolerance that turned me away from a teaching career.

After thinking about it I can understand your point. I guess it is hard for me to see why a year’s suspension is justified in this case. When I was in school (a long time ago) 🙂 I carried either Tylenol or Advil with me all the time. I haven’t been without it since I was 13. I realize that times have changed a lot since then, but it seems that reason is being tossed out of the window in the face of zero tolerance. I am such the good republican girl. I love law and order (not the tv show). I just think they should take these things on a case by case basis and not punish a good kid for the tendencies of the bad ones.

Comments are closed.