scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Zero Tolerance
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET
Tue Mar 21 2000 - 01:47:49 CST
<Roy Fisher wrote>
If zero tolerance is such a bad thing, why are the requirements written "no
more, no less." Doesn't it seem more appropriate in light of the lack of
judgment involved to let Johnny do only the first two requirements, because
he tried "so hard" but Jimmy has to do all of them plus some extra ones that
the counselor thought up, because Jimmy was very proficient and more
There's a big difference between the zero-tolerance policies under
discussion, and the evaluation of advancements. Actually, the requirements
aren't written "no more, no less." Each Scout is expected to do his best to
complete all requirements. In this way, the requirements actually equate to
the rules each student is expected to follow. Zero-tolerance, therefore,
equates with HOW the requirements are evaluated. If we were to institute a
policy similar to zero-tolerance with regard to advancement requirements,
neither Jimmy nor Johnny would pass unless their cooking fire was absolutely
perfect. There would be pictures of qualifying fires, and Scouters would be
forced to compare the Scout's work to the picture (or discription).
Where do you draw the line and say that this infraction of the rule against
carrying knives to school is okay, this infraction gets a one day suspension
and this infraction gets expelled? And what about the infraction that is
worse than #1 but not quite as bad as #2?
No one involved in this discussion is suggesting that an infraction of the
rules in one case should be ignored while in another case should be
punished. An infraction of the rules is still and infraction and requires
punishment. My belief is the punishment should fit the circumstances of the
crime, NOT be completely dependent on just the crime. A Scout who takes a
knife to school is just as guilty of breaking the rules as the bully who
wealds a knife to scare other kids. Both should receive some punishment. I
would hope that the intended use of the knife is taken into consideration. I
would also hope that some consideration is given to the history of the two
I for one, would much rather that school administrations be occupied
administering schools than tied up in a lot of legal battles. It is
unfortunate that our society as a whole, has descended to the point that
common sense has become an uncommon virtue, and an invalid defense for a
particular action. But
The rules are the rules. You can do one of three things: you can live with
them, you can try to change them or you can break them and be prepared to
suffer the consequences. There is one other option, you can change schools.
Would you agree that administrators need to have some say in HOW they
administer the schools? Part of their job is to ensure the safety and
discipline of the students. That job can be done without zero-tolerance.
When we talk about zero-tolerance, we're not advocating getting rid of the
rules. We're not talking about removing the consequences of breaking the
rules. We're simply asking that the rules be applied with common sence and a
little bit of justice. Declaring one punishment for all infractions of the
rule without regard for the circumstances takes control away from
administrators, and leaves the polulace with a rather unhealthy attitude
toward the rules.
Just my opinion, I could be wrong.
No opinion is ever wrong.
AJ Mako, Scoutmaster, Troop 381 http://www.scouts381.org/
Great Trail Council, Old Portage District