This is rather subjective, biased, un-scientific, and emotional, but these stories can help us see what might happen if zero tolerance is strictly enforced. Zero-tolerance means just that: no considerations are made according to circumstances. As we work to make changes in our systems, it helps to try to look at the way the community will be AFTER we succeed. Will it look the way we hope it will?? Could the cure really be worse than the disease?I produced this abstract using time paid for by the Quay County Maternal Child and Community Health Council with funds from the New Mexico Department of Health.
I am writing in regard to Juvenile Intake centers and the school systems-you see, my daughter was involved in the crime of having pills (three pills) in school that a student had given to her. I was called by a school official and told to come to the school right away as my daughter had been involved in "an incident" at school. I arrived at the school around 3: 00 p.m. and I was told nothing about my daughter until 8:30 p.m. When questioned at about 2:45 p.m. by the principal if she has "seen" the student who passed out the pills, my daughter replied that yes, she has seen her & she proceeded to VOLUNTARILY hand over the pills, the principal did not ask my daughter about pills!
My daughter had planned on throwing them away but did not want to waste time away from class to excuse herself to do so. She knew the girl that passed out the pills had been a troubled student & actually was afraid of her! Being that a pill is a controlled substance & is a Zero Tolerance rule, she was expelled for the remainder of the year. This happened in January of 2000 at Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana, she was a sophomore. Keep in mind she was/IS an honor student. She had been a cheerleader for three years-She had never been in ANY kind of trouble at school before-Ever!
They did a strip
search at school in the school conference room, arrested her at school,
handcuffed her at the school and put her in leg shackles and then rode
to the juvenile center in a paddy wagon, She spent two nights at the
Juvenile Center. She was deloused. She begged to be
drug tested & was finally tested the next day! She
was placed on house arrest for a period of thirty days with an
electronic device attached to her ankle, & was sent to a
F.A.C.T program (a drug & alcohol program), put on probation
for six months, attended a teen court, random drug testing, weekly
probation meetings, & had her education taken away from her for
of the year.
At the assessment center, they clearly stated that she was found to be" non-dependant" , after a battery of tests called the SASSI were administered with questions such as:
Have you ever
Do you hear voices telling you what to do?
Where do you go to do your drugs?
Do your parents influence you to do drugs?
The assessment center said that "her crime" was poor choice making.[...]
Did ANYONE ever ask me, my husband or her HOW this all affected her young life? Did they know due to this that, she went form a promising young lady with a future to a suicidal young girl? Did they know she had to start taking prescription antidepressants? Did they ever consider her fears of going back to school-what her first day back would feel like? How she would have to earn back the trust of her teachers, her peer's, her peer's parents, perhaps her fear of being labeled? Did they know that she (still to this day) regrets being honest with the principal by volunteering to hand over the pills? Did they care that she had to be home-schooled and lost all of her friends from all of this?
Did they know that the ONLY friend that she had left after all of this was her boyfriend? Do they know that she became pregnant? Do they know that she is graduating a semester early (AFTER getting expelled & pregnant!) that she is going to be a biochemist? Do they know that she is keeping her baby and her & her boyfriend are planning a future together? Do they know or even care that the results of "their" punishments and the "joke of the assessment center "for her crime may not have favorable results with all students? No! they do not know and THEY DO NOT care!
I believe that MOST of the people at the assessment centers want to be the first to say; "I think I have found a kid that is capable of a Columbine tragedy" And our tax paying dollars are funding it. No one knows the living hell that we as a family have went through from this awful experience and my hope is that you never will! If you could have been present at the assessment center where the counselor asked her a series of questions in robotic like manner-I think you would have laughed!
This is the place where it all starts and ends-And this is WHY you will never ever see a lessening of teenage troubles at schools. Parents have been forced by "the officials" to give up their rights as parents and the child's future is deemed by one person's "freshly graduated Freud theory" at an assessment center! Had the nice lady at the assessment center not loved my daughter, I shudder to think of the results!
Ask yourself what have "the new rules" accomplished? I personally can see not one thing for the better. As the Zero Tolerance web site quotes Thomas Jefferson; " A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither. What do you think this means for our children and grandchildren? These centers and school officials STILL cannot produce good caring parents or children! In my opinion they are helping to produce the opposite.
It is so sad to
say that the Columbine tragedy is STILL continuing with our children as
it's current victims.