The downside of zero tolerance policies

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I enjoyed the April 17 article ‘Perfect Storm’ Leads to Acts of Mass Violence” by Amy McConnell Schaarsmith. It was extremely interesting and comprehensive, except for one thing.

The school ground used to be the great equalizer. It was a microcosm for children to practice and prepare for a society in which they would someday be adults. Bullies, for example, would be dealt with by a punch in the nose, his/​her gang would disperse, everyone would be friends and that was the end of it.

Today’s “no tolerance” policies enforced in our schools have enabled bullies and their mindless followers to become even more aggressive due to the fact that victims, by this rule, cannot fight back, verbally or physically. In essence, the schools are advocating that sufferers of bullying have to stand there and absorb outrageous, contemptuous derision, punches and kicks, or both. Or the victim will be suspended as well.

I know from whence I speak, as I had to have my daughter, who has Asperger’s syndrome, home-schooled in her senior year because I didn’t want her spit on, kicked or pushed down the steps anymore. And I was tired of school administrators not enforcing the anyway-useless anti-bullying codes.

I certainly don’t advocate mass violence, and there are indeed children who have legitimate psychos. But our society and schools must shoulder some of the blame for helping to create these frustrated, confused and enraged children who have to endure the despicable actions from these bully punks who would most assuredly back down when they got a taste of their own medicine. Sometimes a kinder, gentler society is not the answer.

ANGELA VENNARE-KLEIN

Beechview


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