12-Year-Old Girl Arrested For Drawing On Desk

February 18th, 2010 by | Permalink

Yeah. The ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ is working just fine….so fine in fact, that a twelve year old girl got arrested (arrested!!) for writing on her desk at school in New York. What she wrote wasn’t even remotely hateful or anything. Just professing her love for her friends and making it known that ‘Lex was here’. And-it’s not like she carved it in the desk-she used a marker, one that could easily have been washed off.

Still, she got arrested for it, taken out of the classroom in handcuffs and escorted by the police.

Now, hang on. What happened to a visit to the principal’s office? Detention? What has happened that doodling on your desk warrants handcuffs and a trip to jail for a 12-year-old?

….the case of the doodling preteen is raising concerns about the use of zero tolerance policies in schools.

Critics say schools and police have gone too far, overreacting and using well-intended rules for incidents involving nonviolent offenses such as drawing on desks, writing on other school property or talking back to teachers.

“We are arresting them at younger and younger ages [in cases] that used to be covered with a trip to the principal’s office, not sending children to jail,” said Emma Jordan-Simpson, executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund, a national children’s advocacy group.

Apparently, this isn’t the first case of arrest. There was another not too long ago in New York and one in Chicago:

One of the first cases to gain national notoriety was that of Chelsea Fraser. In 2007, the 13-year-old wrote “Okay” on her desk, and police handcuffed and arrested her. She was one of several students arrested in the class that day; the others were accused of plastering the walls with stickers.

At schools across the country, police are being asked to step in. In November, a food fight at a middle school in Chicago, Illinois, resulted in the arrests of 25 children, some as young as 11, according to the Chicago Police Department.

Really? You have to call in the police to stop a food fight? No, you (teachers, principal, etc.) step up and tell them to stop and move on. Throw in a detention if necessary, but not the handcuffs.

Is ‘Zero Tolerance’ giving schools an excuse to not take responsibility for their students? Just let someone else handle the situation?

Towards the end of the article, juvenile court judge Steven Teske is quoted as saying:

“There is zero intelligence when you start applying zero tolerance across the board,” he said. “Stupid and ridiculous things start happening.”

That’s the most sane thing I’ve heard about Zero Tolerance.

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