Friday, April 4, 2014

No good deed goes unpunished

Last month, Virginia Beach middle-schooler Adrionna Harris saw a boy at school cutting his arm with a razor blade. She convinced him that he shouldn't be doing it, took the razor away and threw it in the trash can. The next day she told a teacher what had happened. But instead of applauding her efforts, school administrators at the Bayside Middle School decided to give her a 10 day suspension with a recommendation of expulsion.

It seems the decision was the result of the school's zero tolerance policy which states that a student in possession of "any weapon...shall automatically be recommended for long-term suspension or expulsion." Never mind that she only had possession of the small razor blade for the brief moment it took her to throw it in the trash. Never mind that she was trying to stop a friend from harming himself. What's important, at least from the school systems point of view, is that they follow their ridiculous zero tolerance policy in the most draconian way without any thought given to the context of the situation.

Frustratingly, Adrionna's mother stated that she wasn't getting any sort of response from the school to her calls until she got the press involved. "It is amazing. They are listening to us now … she should be back in school tomorrow and that would be fair,” said Rachael Harris." Thanks to pressure from the press and social media, Adrionna's suspension hearing was held the next day and ultimately her suspension was dropped and the incident cleared from her record.

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