Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Failure of Zero Tolerance Policies

Most school districts have what are termed a "zero tolerance" for weapons policy--meaning that student can be suspended or expelled over the smallest most trivial of violations. Do they work? I believe recent events answer that question.

First, as all of you know by now, 15 year old Jaylen Fryberg walked into his Marysville, Washington, high-school cafeteria yesterday and used a handgun to shoot 5 classmates (one of whom died) before turning the gun on himself (he is also dead). What the media has not reported, to my knowledge, is that the Marysville School District has a zero tolerance policy toward weapons of any kind, prohibits anyone from carrying a weapon on the campus, and the school was required to post "gun free zone" signs.

The District's Policy No. 3240P provides: "A student shall not extort anything of value, threaten injury or attempt to cause physical injury or intentionally behave in such a way as could reasonably be expected to cause physical injury to any person." And: "A student shall not possess or transmit any object that can reasonably be considered a firearm, air gun or a dangerous weapon. Violation of this rule with a firearm shall result in a minimum one year expulsion, unless modified by the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee."

Policy No. 4210  regulates the possession of weapons, and states:
It is a violation of district policy and state law for any person to carry a firearm or dangerous weapon on school premises, school-provided transportation, areas of other facilities being used exclusively for school activities including all other district owned properties. 
The superintendent is directed to see that all school facilities post "Gun-Free Zone" signs, and that all violations of this policy and RCW 9.41.280 are reported annually to the superintendent of Public Instruction.
Policy 4210P further regulates the possessions of weapons or items that could potentially be used as weapons (including laser pointers), and notes that possession of a firearm will result in a 1-year expulsion.It further provides that "[s]chools shall periodically publish and regularly review with students, staff, and the
community the school district’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy towards weapons."

Obviously, all the "gun free" "zero tolerance" crap did nothing to prevent this shooting.

In comparison, although this incident saw little or no coverage (I learned of it via Instapundit), The Truth About Knives cited a couple stories about yet another honor student (this time in Detroit) having her life ruined over a small lapse--in this case, she forgot that her grandfather's pocket knife was in her backpack--and has now been banned from campus for the rest of the school year.

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