Popehat readers near the ocean: could you kindly check whether the tide is red?
Florida Governor Charlie Crist has signed a bill that takes some baby steps towards reigning in the moronic trend of zero-tolerance policies in public schools, under which if little Billy brings a spork from home, he may find himself proned out on the wet playground pavement by Resource Officer Muscly McOverreact. Overlawyered has a good archive of zero-tolerance idiocy.
I must admit that I was not expecting that from a Florida politician.
The bill is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction:
It is the intent of the Legislature to promote a safe and supportive learning environment in schools, to protect students and staff from conduct that poses a serious threat to school safety, and to encourage schools to use alternatives to expulsion or referral to law enforcement agencies by addressing disruptive behavior through restitution, civil citation, teen court, neighborhood restorative justice, or similar programs. The Legislature finds that zero-tolerance policies are not intended to be rigorously applied to petty acts of misconduct and misdemeanors, including, but not limited to, minor fights or disturbances. The Legislature finds that zero-tolerance policies must apply equally to all students regardless of their economic status, race, or disability.
I'd love to see more Legislatures recognize that not all behavior on at school should be treated the same. That — and, God willing, a less hysterical attitude towards drugs — might might result in fewer thirteen-year-old girls being strip-searched by predatory school administrators looking for Ibuprofin.
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