How Times Have Changed

I’ve been on this planet for 31 years so it wasn’t that long ago that I escaped from high school. But in that short period of time things have certainly changed. Zero tolerance policies, which were just starting to be mentioned when I was finishing up my high school sentence, are now the norm and they are leading to increasingly idiotic outcomes. Alyssa Drescher is a high school student who brought a pocket knife to school. For her infraction she’s looking at expulsion for one year:

Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Drescher is facing expulsion after Wells police reportedly found a pocket knife in her purse during a random drug search Tuesday morning.

Her father, Rick Drescher, said he bought the knife for his daughter a few months earlier at Menard’s. The knife was in her purse after a day of cutting hay bales at her boyfriend’s home a few days prior, and Alyssa forgot to take it out, Rick said.


The father said school officials could have given her a three- to five-day suspension, and initially said they believed that she mistakenly brought the knife to school. Now, however, Jensen is seeking to expel her for 12 months at an expulsion hearing before the USC school board at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

I took a lot of shop classes in high school. Like most other shops students I carried a pocket knife and used it every day. The only policy my school had about pocket knifes at that time, at least that I’m aware of, was that the blade had to be under a certain length. But even that rule wasn’t enforced, at least by the shop teachers. So long as you weren’t acting in a violent or irresponsible nature nobody really cared that you had a pocket knife as it was recognized as a legitimate tool.

Now pocket knifes are treated as weaponry and students who mistakenly bring them to school face increasingly severe punishments. It’s no stretch of the imagination to say that zero tolerance polices are ruining academic careers of students who have made absolutely trivial mistakes. In fact this is a reflection of our society in general. At one time a person who committed a crime and suffered his cage sentence was released with a relatively clean slate. Now anybody who has served time in a cage, regardless of how minor their infraction was, is dogged with that history for the remainder of their lives.

Our society is becoming one where mistakes are not forgiven. If you forget to remove a pocket knife from your purse you may forfeit the entire school year and be forced to redo it all over again. Smoking a little weed when you’re in college can lead to a cage sentence that will harm your chances of gaining employment after you finish college (if you’re even allowed to finish college). Nothing good can come from our increasingly intolerant society.

Update: 2014-04-27: 20:52: The school board unanimously voted to expel her:

WELLS — The United South Central school board voted unanimously Thursday to expel the 17-year-old girl who claims she mistakenly brought a pocket knife to school last week. The expulsion will last through the end of the school year.

Another academic career ruined by our retarded zero tolerance society.