Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another school goes overboard with zero tolerance.

The bureaucratic mind is a wonder to behold. It is rigid, unthinking, and bound by manuals and rules. Minutia and inconsequentials are the rule of the day. The culprits in this case are the morons who run the Lansingburgh High School.

Matthew Whalen, sounds like a budding militarist to me but that doesn't mean he isn't the victim in this case. Whalen is an Eagle Scout anxious to go off to U.S. Military Academy and a member of the National Guard. True to his budding nature he keeps a "survival kit" in his car which contains a sleeping bag, water, a ready-to-eat meal and a tw0-inch pocket knife. These things are kept locked in his car.

But the bureaucrats who control the government school learned these things were locked in the car and saw, not a would-be militarist off to invade some country, but a terrorist, or perhaps a criminal about to rape and pillage and execute most his fellow students—all with the tw0-inch pocketknige that was locked up in his car in the parking lot. Obviously an immediate threat.

So they suspended him from classes for five days. And then they held a hearing and decided the crime of having this survival kit in his car was such a threat to their rules that they added another 15 days to his suspension. The school says:

"The district also has an established policy of zero tolerance with respect to possesions of weapons of any kind on school property or in school buildings. We believe this policy allows us to fulfill our duty of maintaining the safety of our district's educational environment for our students, faculty, and community members."

Zero tolerance is a policy loved by bureaucrats because it removes the necessity to think. The rule is the rule and common sense, something that is missing among the rule bound, is almost totally absent.

That zero tolerance is so loved by the bureaucrats and teacher's unions tells us something about the current state of government-run education. State schooling is run by individuals who can't think, who can't apply principles to situations based on the evidence. They don't have independence of spirit, an ability for critical thinking, or a desire to instill these values in the children under then control. They cling to rules like the most rabid authoritarians. They are in the government system because the system relieves them of the necessity to think—which really ought to be the central task of their job. How do these people teach critical thinking and common sense to the young when they are so afraid of practicing these themselves.

And to be quite honest, I'd be a lot happier if I thought that Matthew had been taught critical thinking instead of mindless obedience to authority. Unfortunately it seems that the schools and the military are both united in a campaign to stamp out such traits in the young.