Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Schools without mercy

Watching the parade of childhood rituals that attended the last week of the elementary school my children attend (Rosa Parks, Berkeley Unified) with twin day, backwards day, pajama day, and wear red day, it was easy to float nostalgically downstream the relative immunity to punishment that surrounded school kids in my youth during the sixties and early seventies. Except that practically every day brings another press reminder that the new childhood is barbed-wired in with harsh automatic rules that brook little possibility of mercy. The latest reminder is a link from the Lawrence Journal World out of Lawrence Kansas (forwarded courtesy of Robert Perkinson). The amazingly harsh and stupid zero tolerance policies detailed make it apparent why it is far from impossible to turn Americans against the mandate to govern themselves through crime. It is bad enough that we bequeath our kids schools far less well funded and far more boring then the ones we had in the 1960s. Surely we owe it to them to remove the zero tolerance regime that turns the merely boring into something far more cruel and damaging.

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