Crime and Punishment

More Zero-tolerance idiocy: Texas student suspended for possessing “small pocket-knife”.

I sat down last night to offer commentary on Ahmed Mohamed and his suspension for bringing a homemade clock to school. I was going to focus on a piece from Reason.com: “Hey Liberals, #IStandwithAhmed isn’t only about racism, it is about school zero-tolerance insanity”* I scrapped that piece because new information has come to light at PJ Mediathat paints the school in a more sympathetic light. I don’t know the truth of what happened and at this point the dominant media narrative seems to be unraveling a bit, but there is not enough to make a firm statement either way. Read both the PJ Media piece and Reason piece and decide for yourselves.

The device was not actually a bomb, though it certainly warranted scrutiny. I do not think that Ahmed should have been interrogated without his parents present, and I do not from the available information think he needed to be led away in handcuffs. I feel the same way anytime a child finds themselves facing criminal charges for a non-violent violation at school.

That being said, there was an unambiguous example of zero-tolerance lunacy at a Texas school this week. A student at the Trinity Charter School was suspended when a police search yielded a small pocket-knife in his possession.

 

A statement from School officials defends their actions (from CBS19.tv)

“Earlier this week at one of Trinity Charter School’s East Texas campuses, staff took swift and appropriate action regarding a report of a student bringing a weapon to school. the team at the school notified law enforcement immediately who, through the search, found a pocket knife.”

“My opinion from 18 down you shouldn’t have a knife especially at school, so that’s how I look at it.”

 

As it turns out, knives on campus are actually legal in Texas, provided that the school has not put in place a formal policy prohibiting carry. This makes it worse in my opinion. The school has the freedom to deal with such situations in a fair and rational manner, instead they chose to abdicate their responsibility to exhibit compassion and common sense. They chose to hide behind a rigid, mindless, and ineffectual policy that does nothing to protect kids, but plenty to hamper their future prospects for benign acts.


 

 

*When I shared the Reason piece on my personal FaceBook page, David Andersen left the following response:

“I take issue with the headline of the article calling out “liberals,” as if they are the only ones to find this situation repugnant and smell a whiff of racism. This should be a case we can all agree on, a rare coming together of all of us as people, but the singling out of one group in the headline serves no purpose but to be divisive.”

I do not disagree. All sentient beings should be appalled by zero-tolerance policies in schools, and if Ahmed is indeed completely innocent or that the school singled him out for his race, all people should voice their displeasure with unjust punishments.

Discussion

2 responses to ‘More Zero-tolerance idiocy: Texas student suspended for possessing “small pocket-knife”.

  1. That thing looks nothing like a bomb, unless you believe Hollywood is accurate in depicting bombs. Not surprised PJ Media supports the narrative of “well, it COULD’VE been a bomb!” Fits nicely into the far-right anti-Muslim stance. The whole incident is a farce of how backwards and fear-mongering we’ve become. This is on the same level as the pop-tart gun insanity, but with a more prejudicial backing.

    Even when I was a kid, and my dad and grandpa gave me pocket knives, they made it explicitly clear I was not to take them to school. Tiny, tiny SAKs, too. Don’t recall the exact model, but they were smaller than my littlest finger at 8 years old. Not even enough to spread butter, much less be a “weapon”. Of course, it was never a good idea to bring anything, including non-banned toys to school, because of the tendency for those things to “walk off”.

  2. Of course the only familiarity most people have with bombs is from Hollywood, so that’s not much of an objection. You don’t need to be far right to be at least concerned about Islam. Their war with the West is 1400 years old, and a ceasefire has never been called.

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