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Some New Jersey Public Schools Take "Zero Tolerance" Literally

The New York Times is reporting that the Manalapan, NJ Board of Education has jumped off the deep end when it comes to identifying threatening behavior exhibited by young children. The Times documents a number of cases in which ten year-old kids made obviously inoccuous excalamations that resulted in the students receiving suspensions and permanent police records.

There is absolutely no doubt that the parents in these districts are partly to blame. The article points out, "Last year, parents at the elementary schools pressed the school board to make sure no intruders entered the buildings, which prompted the schools to require that visitors be buzzed in." These parents need to learn how to assess risk more realistically and to be careful what they demand from their school administrators. Otherwise, they are likely to find hair-trigger policies like these put in place everywhere.

Of course, everyone in the Manalapan-Englishtown School District looks foolish now. The superintendant could have put a stop to this before his district made national news. But, that would have required a degree of finesse that teachers and administrators in our public schools too often lack.

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