Yet more rule internalization

I think one of the most classic examples of rule internalization has to be zero-tolerance policies. These awful, awful things are intensely, severely popular in schools across America, and they rarely, if ever, do anything to help anyone. Anywhere. Ever. Take this example from Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay, Florida:

A 14-year-old middle school student was suspended as a result of the Florida school’s strict no-hugging policy.

Nick Martinez said he hugged his best friend, a female student, quickly between classes, according to WKMG-TV, Orlando, and never thought the gesture would result in suspension. The principal at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay saw the hug and brought the two students to the dean, who issued a one-day in-school suspension.

“Honestly, I didn’t know, because I didn’t think hugging was a bad thing. I didn’t know you could get suspended for it,” Martinez told WKMG-TV. “A lot of friends are hugging. I just happened to be the one caught doing it.”

This is a result of lazy thinking. The board which came up with these policies did so in a way that demonstrates a complete lack of interest in the welfare of the children it is charged with overseeing. If they gave a damn, they would have bothered to spend 15 minutes coming up with a few distinctions. For instance, was Nick Martinez grabbing some ass? No? Oh, well, then, carry on.

Of course, like any non-thinking entity, the board has some ready-to-go excuses:

“We cannot make an opinion or judgment call on whether a hug is appropriate or not. It’s very difficult to police that on campus,” Christine Davis, the public information officer for Brevard County Public Schools, told ABC News.

No, no, no. It isn’t that they cannot make a judgement call. It’s that they are cowards who don’t dare to make judgement calls.

Davis said the school puts policies and procedures in place to help keep the students focused on learning.

Really? So taking two students out of their classes for an entire day is a focus on learning? For a school system unwilling to make simple judgement decisions, they sure are willing to make bold judgement calls of pure shit when it comes to educating children.

20 Responses

  1. I think it’s a great rule. The world has far too many hugs being traded around as it is.

  2. (really though, it’s ludicrous for schools to care about this shit. I’m so glad they spend time on this instead of edumacating them.)

  3. That board would have an absolute fit if they watched one of my students enter school.
    1. The math/reading lower grades tutor greeting students at the door
    2 – 7 her step/1/2 siblings in the breakfast line
    8 – 10 Mr. T, Mr. Y, and Mrs R aides that over see breakfast (yes we have male aides, and they hug kids.)
    11 – 12 Friends in breakfast
    13 – Councilor
    14 – Principal (male)
    15 – AP
    16 – 1st grade teacher from last year
    17 – 18 Gym Mr. B and Mrs. C (aides)
    19 – Walking to class from gym Ms. H the art teacher
    20 – 21 2nd grade hallway Mrs T (Mr. T’s wife) and an Mrs S other 2nd grade teachers
    22 – Me
    And that is before 7:30 am. This is a normal happy kid. She just greets those she knows with a hug.

  4. “It isn’t that they cannot make a judgement call. It’s that they are cowards who don’t dare to make judgement calls.”

    I’ve been thinking about this and I actually think they were on the right track about judgement calls.

    I just think instead of banning hugging they should have decided not to deal with hugging at all, the school being in no position to decide good hugs from bad without some kind of complaint.

  5. They can deal with the complaints. They have no business punishing innocent kids because of a couple of potential bad apples.

  6. Exactly, they should keep their undoubtedly nanny state noses out of other peoples business.

  7. I misunderstood what you said. I presume if a couple of kids are hugging so they can simultaneously fingerbang, the school may have an interest in stopping that.

  8. Why? I hardly see how it is their business. Sounds like the parents problem to me. I was under the impression that schools existed to teach things like math and macaroni art, not instruct kids how to live every minute of their lives.

    Better to have them in the school and getting to class rather than leaving school entirely to do what they are going to do anyway.

  9. Schools are also there to help teach good social interaction skills. While some PDA (such as hugging) is deemed acceptable just about anywhere one goes, it is less acceptable to outright have sex in public.

  10. I agree, but we already have laws against certain behaviors, I don’t see a need for schools to also regulate them further than the law does. What is acceptable on a public sidewalk should be equally acceptable in a public school.

  11. I don’t agree that schools are there to teach good social interaction skills. Social interaction is there to teach good social interaction skills.

  12. Kids are not adults. Their behavior has to be moderated from a different perspective. And beside that, I’m fairly sure it would be deemed public indecency to fingerbang in public.

  13. I’m sure it would be considered so. As you say, kids are not adults, and their behavior needs to be moderated, but by their parents and peers, not by bureaucrats do-gooding from on high. Particularly when they often seem completely incapable of any moderation themselves, as in this case.

  14. I don’t expect teachers and administrators to be parents, but they are charged with the care of children during school hours. That includes making sure they are not acting in a way which the majority of parents would deem unacceptable.

  15. I think it’s a great rule, too. It fosters a healthy disrespect for authority.

  16. If there was a ‘like’ button here, lurker would get a ‘like’ right now.

    Michael, if a majority of the parents wanted them to be finger banging, the school should encourage that?

  17. I don’t see it as healthy, but if there exists some bizarre school district which encourages that, and provided it somehow does not interrupt the education of the children, I’m not going to step in and make them do otherwise.

  18. It’s always going to be a problem. If they have the ability to make rules like this, the majority will be completely devoid of legitimate function. We have a legislature to legislate, I continue not to see a point to schools providing more restrictive rules than the law provides outside the schools doors.

  19. Are you saying the majority will be illegitimate if they are willing to redefine what is publicly (and scholastically) acceptable?

    Bar the restriction of rights, that sounds like the exact function of the majority to me.

  20. I thought generally you were against strict majority rule like this?

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