Chad’s Morning Brief: Zero Tolerance Rules in School Hurt Boys, Seattle Wants Gun-Free Zone Businesses, & More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of August 20, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
1. Zero Tolerance (link)
Are schools becoming too hostile towards boys? An article from TIME points out the answer could be yes. The reason? Zero-tolerance policies.
As school begins in the coming weeks, parents of boys should ask themselves a question: Is my son really welcome? A flurry of incidents last spring suggests that the answer is no. In May, Christopher Marshall, age 7, was suspended from his Virginia school for picking up a pencil and using it to “shoot” a “bad guy” — his friend, who was also suspended. A few months earlier, Josh Welch, also 7, was sent home from his Maryland school for nibbling off the corners of a strawberry Pop-Tart to shape it into a gun. At about the same time, Colorado’s Alex Evans, age 7, was suspended for throwing an imaginary hand grenade at “bad guys” in order to “save the world.”
In all these cases, school officials found the children to be in violation of the school’s zero-tolerance policies for firearms, which is clearly a ludicrous application of the rule. But common sense isn’t the only thing at stake here. In the name of zero tolerance, our schools are becoming hostile environments for young boys.
Girls occasionally run afoul of these draconian policies; but it is mostly boys who are ensnared. Boys are nearly five times more likely to be expelled from preschool than girls. In grades K-12, boys account for nearly 70% of suspensions, often for minor acts of insubordination and defiance. In the cases of Christopher, Josh and Alex, there was no insubordination or defiance whatsoever. They were guilty of nothing more than being typical 7-year-old boys. But in today’s school environment, that can be a punishable offense.
Zero tolerance was originally conceived as a way of ridding schools of violent predators, especially in the wake of horrific shootings in places like Littleton, Colo. But juvenile violence, including violence at schools, is at a historic low. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that in 2011, approximately 1% of students ages 12 to 18 reported a violent victimization at school. For serious violence, the figure is one-tenth of 1%. It does no disrespect to the victims of Columbine or Sandy Hook to note that while violence may be built into the core of a small coterie of sociopathic boys, most boys are not sociopathic.
On the other hand, millions of boys are struggling academically. A large and growing male cohort is falling behind in grades and disengaged from school. College has never been more important to a young person’s life prospects, and today boys are far less likely than girls to pursue education beyond high school. As our schools become more risk averse, the gender gap favoring girls is threatening to become a chasm.
Across the country, schools are policing and punishing the distinctive, assertive sociability of boys. Many much-loved games have vanished from school playgrounds. At some schools, tug of war has been replaced with “tug of peace.” Since the 1990s, elimination games like dodgeball, red rover and tag have been under a cloud — too damaging to self-esteem and too violent, say certain experts. Young boys, with few exceptions, love action narratives. These usually involve heroes, bad guys, rescues and shoot-ups. As boys’ play proceeds, plots become more elaborate and the boys more transfixed. When researchers ask boys why they do it, the standard reply is, “Because it’s fun.”
According to at least one study, such play rarely escalates into real aggression — only about 1% of the time. But when two researchers, Mary Ellin Logue and Hattie Harvey, surveyed classroom practices of 98 teachers of 4-year-olds, they found that this style of play was the least tolerated. Nearly half of teachers stopped or redirected boys’ dramatic play daily or several times a week — whereas less than a third reported stopping or redirecting girls’ dramatic play weekly.
What a great article from TIME. I can’t stand zero-tolerance policies as it takes rational thought out of our schools. It’s another way of making sure everything is politically correct and a way to make sure one gets their feeling’s hurt.
2. Gun-Free Businesses (link)
Well this is a stupid idea out of Seattle.
Mayor Mike McGinn plans to unveil a program Monday to encourage Seattle businesses to go “gun free” by not allowing customers to carry firearms inside their establishments.
About a dozen businesses have already signed up for a “Gun Free Zone” decal, including Cafe Racer, where a customer shot and killed four others last year. Other participants include Neumos, Oddfellows Cafe & Bar, Sweatbox Yoga and Cupcake Royale, with more expected in the coming days.
“This is something businesses can do to be on the front lines of preventing gun violence,” said Ralph Fascitelli, board president of Washington CeaseFire, a gun-control group that approached McGinn three months ago with the idea and has since been recruiting participants. “It’s a good incremental step.”
Fascitelli said the program won’t stop a determined killer such as the Cafe Racer shooter. But he said that taking guns out of the equation could prevent some arguments from ending in tragedy.
Gun-rights activist Alan Gottlieb dismissed that line of thinking, noting how few people get fatally shot in crimes of passion in Seattle businesses.
“Let’s be realistic about this,” said Gottlieb, the founder of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation.
“If these businesses want to turn off their customer base, I guess they can do it,” he added. “It’s a free society.”
A McGinn spokesman would not comment until after the Monday news conference, which Washington CeaseFire will host.
A news release that will be sent Monday quotes the mayor as saying that “the police department regularly enforces trespass laws when a visitor to a business violates that business’ rules. We will continue to do so, and I thank these businesses for standing up for the safety of their customers.”
The program is based on laws allowing businesses to set conditions of entry such as requiring shirts and shoes. In Washington, local governments are prohibited from directly setting their own gun laws.
The program is a unilateral executive action by the mayor’s office, in coordination with Washington CeaseFire. The Seattle City Council has not yet been briefed.
Bruce Harrell, the chairman of the council’s Committee on Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology, said McGinn’s time would be better spent trying to change the state law that bars local governments from setting gun laws.
Harrell, a candidate for mayor earlier this year, said the Gun Free Zone program “is not going to hurt things. I just don’t see how it’s going to make a huge difference.”
But Cafe Racer owner Kurt Geissel said it will do something.
“It sends a message that it’s not cool to just walk around with a gun all the time because bad things happen,” he said. “It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s really, really bad.”
Gun-free zones don’t work. In fact, they make you a target. Why would any business want to put a decal on their door that advertises they have no weapons. It doesn’t make sense and is very dangerous. It would not surprise me if some of these businesses see an increase in crime in the future.
3. Robertson vs. LEDA (link)
Mayor Glen Robertson claimed on Facebook yesterday that he has received political threats after suggesting a .5 cent cut in LEDA funding.
I seem to have upset a new group of people in Lubbock. Last month I was receiving calls from individuals who informed me I should ” back away” from the LP&L issues or it could hurt my upcoming reelection efforts. Since last weeks meeting, I have received several calls regarding LEDA and Market Lubbock. I proposed a .5 cent cut to the funding for Market Lubbock in the budget. This would cut their proposed funding by $612,000.00, but would still give them a net increase over last years overall funding. I received one email from a board member during the discussions and the phone rang all weekend. One of the callers said “Mayor, I know you still have $85,000.00 in debt from your last campaign and that you already have at least one person ready to run against you. If you don’t completely walk away from the LEDA budget, I promise you that you will not be able to raise one ———- dollar and we will underwrite anyone willing to run against you.” I am tired of receiving empty threats from empty suits and I will not stop trying to protect our citizens from special interest groups with self serving interest.
Today at 9:05am, John Osborne of LEDA will be my guest. We will talk about the possible funding cut and LEDA’s role in Lubbock.
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These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.