Zero Tolerance = zero intelligence (part DCXXI)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my childhood school system, Fairfax County, VA,  bullying a troubled student over possession of a legal herb until he committed suicide.  The story in Thursday’s Post strikes me as even worse.  In this case, a 13 year-old girl missed seven weeks of school for having an antibiotic for acne in her locker.  Here’s the lede:

Hayley Russell was 13 and worried about another acne flare-up when she brought an orange prescription bottle to Rachel Carson Middle School in Fairfax County. She placed the medication on the top shelf of her locker so she could retrieve an antibiotic pill to take at lunch.

“I just didn’t think about it at the time,” she says.

Hayley violated Fairfax rules that prescription medication must be signed in at the school clinic by a parent and kept there. The pills sat in her locker for months. When an administrator confronted her about them last May, acting on a tip from other girls, Hayley quickly acknowledged her mistake. But it triggered a disciplinary process that kept her out of class for more than seven weeks and banned her from even visiting Carson without official permission.

Ohhh, erythromycin, there’s a dangerous “controlled substance.”  Sure, I get that schools have policies on prescription drugs, but treating an antibiotic as if its Oxycontin or methylphenidate defies all reason and logic.  Seriously.  Are their absolute morons running the school system there?  Based on this, evidence says a resounding yes!  Oxy and erythromycin are both “controlled substances” in the sense that a line of heavy thunderstorms and Hurricane Katrina were both “severe weather events.”   Here’s the disgracefully stupid response from the school system:

The disciplinary ruling that arrived the second week of June said Hayley “willfully and deliberately possessed and consumed prescription medication at school, knowing that her actions were in violation of school rules.” It said she “put the safety and well-being of other students and staff at risk.”

Oh, please do tell how a bottle of a modest antibiotic that’s been around without any serious problems for 60 years was a threat to the “safety and well-being” of other students and staff.  Anybody who believes that is as dumb as the school officials in charge.  Damn, damn, damn, do I hate when adults in important positions of authority over children’s’ lives are so willfully obtuse.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Zero Tolerance = zero intelligence (part DCXXI)

  1. John says:

    Death is certainly forever but 7 weeks is just 7 weeks. How about the obtuse “adults” in Raleigh & Washington who are too dumb to realize the power they wield will affect children for the rest of their lives and instead propose charter schools?!?

    Standardized test are dominant throughout everly level of education, if they’re so valuable let’s starting applying them to politicians and public administrators! Not as a form of entrance exam but as a standardized way to gauge their ideological underpinnings. Then we can decide if we want to employ someone who is so black-and-white they’d ruin a child’s life to uphold a rule or an ideology.

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