Friday, April 15, 2011

Zero Tolerance

The Red-faced Man speaks:

We need to start early. We need to tell our kids, from the beginning, that the real word is just waiting to swallow them whole. They need to understand that it all comes down to numbers and that no one cares about them.

You do something wrong, you do something wrong -- that's it. Nothing else matters. Everyone knows the real world is zero tolerance (which is why our schools should be). The judicial system does not care about the degree of a crime. A crime is a crime. No one cares why you did it or what the circumstances were or whether you were acting in self-defense. If, for instance, a woman is being raped and she reaches for a knife to defend herself and kills the rapist, the court sees that as no different than some street-person killing a nun and stealing her money. They always get the same punishment. Murder by accident is punished the same as premeditated murder. Right? So why should we teach our kids that there are grey areas?

That's why we have "zero tolerance" policies in our schools. If a ten-year-old brings a water pistol into school because his four year old sister put it in his backpack the night before, the kid needs to be expelled. Prosecuted, if possible. No water pistols in school. That's it. A rule is a rule. If an eight-year-old gets out of control, he needs to be pepper-sprayed or tasered, because that is how police subdue unruly citizens. Black and white. Disorderly public behavior should have the same results, across the board. Fair's fair.

If a girl's father is dying of cancer and she recently lost her mother, too, and she is late to school too many times -- I'm sorry: no graduation for her. The rules are clearly stated in every school's handbook. You ony get a certain number of absences.

In the real world, they don't give you "leaves of absence" when you really need them, ever. No boss, anywhere, is going to show compassion for his workers if they are going through hard times. In fact, most bosses wait for you to have a hard time and they use it as an opportunity to ruin your life because they know they have an obligation to keep the real word nasty.

Even rules across the board, I say. The same rules should apply to the girl whose dad who has cancer and to the kid who cuts school to drink in the woods three times per week You miss school, you miss school. Black and white.

A kid who has an abusive home life who gets a 69 in a class where the passing grade is 70 is no exception, even if he handed in every assignment and pays attention in class and stays for extra help. There is nothing to merit passing him. You earn the grade or you don't. Teachers don't give grades -- students earn them. No one, in the real world, cares about your repeated abuse or your misery. No one. We need to get these kids ready for that.

Where would we be if we started letting ourselves think over these things? Where would we be if we couldn't decide everything with a snap decision based on a set of rules that are etched in stone? What are we supposed to do, spend time trying to decide what the best thing to do is? No. That's giving in. That's allowing people to get away with things. That's why our society is weak.

As long as I live, I will never condone people going light on some arrogant, rude, unruly bastard who gets into a bar fight. You put him in jail and you throw away the key. I don't care if his teenaged daughter just committed suicide. It is no excuse. Zero tolerance.

Until kids understand realities like this, they are not going to be prepared for the real world. We have to be honest with them. Give them the truth and not sugar-coat it.

Wait -- what? You think this is ridiculous? Extreme? Well, you're weak, too, apparently. You probably also  think there are grey areas in-between this and a let-everyone-do-what-they-want mentality, too. Typical.

The Red-faced Man chuckles softly to himself, slowly shaking his head.

No comments:

Post a Comment