Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

March 31, 2014

A look at common sense, and a good-bye to an 'old friend'

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I’ll be discussing two things in this space this week. One is a general observance, the other is a thank you.

Here we go:

For years I have heard that it is difficult, even impossible, to legislate morality.

I’ve also heard the phrase zero-tolerance policy more times than I’ve cared to, and I’ve seen said policies in many instances paint people into corners from which they could not escape.

But by combining the two, I suppose it has become unfortunately necessary to legislate common sense.

That’s just sad.

Over the past decade and a half there have been horrible stories of school shootings. There is no denying those incidents have cast our nation in a negative light. Dating back to Columbine in 1999, all the way through and including the Newtown tragedy last year, we have been bombarded with instances of gun violence involving young people.

So much so that zero tolerance policies have brought about the need to now legislate common sense. Part of it has to do with a Pop Tart.

Evidently, a youngster in Maryland was enjoying one of the squarely delicious frosted delights and chewed it into the shape of a gun, and then pointed the pastry at a classmate. Said youngster wound up suspended from school.

Seriously? Seriously.

Elsewhere in the country another youth made the age old gesture of the thumb up, index finger out — you know, like Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore after every putt he made — and that person was also suspended. There have also been instances where two children were pretending to “shoot” each other with their pencils, leading to the same punishment. 

I could get into the specifics of Florida’s “Pop Tart Law” but the bottom line is that the law gives administrators a chance to get out from under the zero tolerance policies that have lead to such crazy punishments. Even older kids who wear NRA shirts have wound up in trouble.

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