scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Equal Opportunity/Zero Tolerance
Ed Thompson (thompson@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU
Thu Mar 16 2000 - 10:06:12 CST
At 11:53 AM 3/15/72 -0500, Cheryl Singhal responded to my comments on
>See also: thread on Zero-Tolerance.
I agree. However, be careful here. Being flexible does not mean that NO
rules should be followed, nor does it mean that any rule should NEVER be
followed. It means using your brain to do a "cost:benefit" analysis. In
any context, including scouting, at one extreme you will find highly useful
rules which should be followed 99%+ of the time, while at the other extreme
will be rules which might have been very useful a few years ago but can
rarely be justified now (and probably ought to be considered for removal).
In my mind, most zero-tolerance policies have a strong benefit in keeping
weapons out of school (disclaimer: as a school board member, I have been
involved in developing and writing such policies): the inconvenience of
little Eddie not being able to bring his shiny new cub scout knife to show
and tell is far outweighed by the same policy keeping Bart the Bully (my
apologies to anyone named Bart) from bringing HIS knife to school to extort
lunch money. Can such policies be overenforced (e.g. classifying every
sharpened pencil as a weapon)? Sure. But that doesn't necessarily make the
policy bad. If you think that you would be able to always be able to tell
the difference between harmless and harmful weapons if you were the teacher
/ principal, you are sadly mistaken. Kids have been "pushing the envelope"
on school rules for far longer than any of us have been alive. Sometimes,
the best thing is to simply tell kids "no means no".
Pack 6 and Troop 6