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October 30, 2007
Zero tolerance madness
Herbert Meyer writes:
Zero Tolerance for Butter Knives - But Nukes are Okay
Kudos to Charles Sykes, for his splendid essay exposing the stupidity of the liberals' zeal for "zero tolerance" of weapons.
Yet these same liberals - who would expel a high-school student who inadvertently brought a butter knife to school - call President Bush a war-monger because he's expressed concern that Iran is developing nuclear bombs and threatening to actually use them.
Are these liberals as crazy as the mullahs? Or are they simply unable to grasp the magnitude of the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran will pose to the world? Indeed, listening to liberals pooh-poohing the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran brings to mind how German Jews in 1938 talked about the Nazis: Well, yes, they're a bit rough and a bit nuts. Not our sort at all. But really, what are they going to do? Kill us all?
As a matter of fact, that's exactly what they did.
Wouldn't it be nice if the people who run our schools would stop expelling children who have butter knives in their lockers, and start teaching one of the central lessons of history: Namely, that when a bunch of crazy killers gets control of a government and tells you what they plan to do with their power - they mean it, quite literally. And you had better find a way to stop them while you can.
As with so many things that go on in schools today, zero tolerance represents the school's complete unwillingness to think or take responsibility for things. I actually saw a microcosm of that yesterday when I attended my first meeting of a public school management committee, which I blogged about here. This morning, I added some further thoughts, inspired by Charles Sykes, in this post. An excerpt:
Yesterday I wrote about an administrative meeting I attended at our local public school, relating how everyone assured me that the teachers understood a policy document that was to guide them. However, when I asked questions, it became apparent that the teachers, in fact, didn’t understand at least a few of the key concepts in the document.
What really troubled me was the document itself, one that various committees had written over the years. To my mind, it was incomprehensible. First off, every single sentence was passive voice. I don’t like passive voice. My blessedly good high school English teacher taught me that people use passive voice to avoid responsibility, and she was right. In this document, all sorts of things “will be done” for the benefit of the students, but it is never clear who will do them. The document cycled madly between apparently random passive voice references to the school, the teachers, and the administrations, with many sentences carefully avoiding assigning any responsibility at all.
Of course, even if one could determine who had responsibility, I doubt it would be easy for the person with responsibility to figure out what he or she is to do. The document was rich with buzzwords, jargon and meaningless (but very high sounding) phrases. Incidentally, I recognize jargon’s usefulness within an industry. It’s a shorthand. As a lawyer, I use it all the time. It would take me forever to explain to you, the non-lawyer reader, what a demurrer is, but a lawyer instantly understands its meaning and purpose. In this meeting, though, I discovered that none of the participants, teachers, parents or administrations, had any idea what some of the document’s terms meant.