No Patience for Zero Tolerance

Once again public school authorities have over reacted to a child bringing a toy to school. Unfortunately, stories like this pop up all too frequently. Are there any lessons to be learned from cases like this beyond the incomprehensible actions of the government employees?

The Non Logic of the State

George Orwell foreshadowed this type of action in his novel 1984. He coined the term double speak. A classic example of double speak is a phrase such as “slavery is freedom.” Of course this is a contradiction. And it is exactly this type of logical contradiction that children are taught day in and day out in the public schools across America.

The message from the news item is that toy guns are equivalent to real guns. It is absurd that a child should be punished for playing with a toy his parents bought him. This absurdity is exactly the point. The student and his parents must be taught to accept whatever punishment is to befall them whether or not it makes any logical sense. This will pave the way for obedient submission to future government demands.


In his book The Gift of Fear, Gavin De Becker recounts many examples of being brought in as a consultant to de-escalate a situation. Often times one side of a conflict, such as an employer, refuses to make exceptions to a policy. In one case a manager refused to back down and reimburse $400 dollars to a fired employee even after an employee placed two .32 calibre rounds on his desk. The policy stated that all expenses needed prior approval. Even though the employee was receiving $11,000 in severance the manager refused the $400 expense.

De Becker advised the manager of the aphorism that young men know the rules but wise men know the exceptions. In this example, De Becker was able to convince the manager to make an exception. The ex-employee eventually moved out of state and was no longer heard from again. It is exactly this type of maturity of thought that government run public schools are designed to prevent students from achieving.

Zero tolerance polices are yet one more reason to opt out of state schooling. Think about the types of lessons you want your children to learn and I think you will agree that the public schools are no place for children to spend their waking  hours.

What do you think are the deeper lessons behind zero tolerance policies? Have you ever had a conflict as a result of a zero tolerance policy? Let me know what  you think in the comments section.