Zero tolerance raises its ugly head once again to smear the record of a 10 year old student in Columbus, Ohio.
Nathan Entingh is a fifth grader at Devonshire Alternative Elementary School in the northern part of the Columbus school district who just received a 3 day suspension for what the school called a ‘level 2 lookalike firearm’ infraction. What happened is that Nathan playfully pointed his finger at another student in the classroom and acted like he was going to shoot him.
The school has a zero tolerance policy against any lookalike firearms including fingers and yes, Nathan broke that policy. However, many kids at the same school play like that at school all the time on the playground and no one has ever been suspended before, until Nathan, who has never been in trouble at school before now.
Nathan told the local news:
“I was just playing around. People play around like this a lot at my school.”
The other student never saw Nathan point and shoot at him, only the teacher did and she was so livid over it that she not only removed him from class, but was too upset to really talk to him. Nathan’s father, Paul Entingh says that the adults at the school are being more childish than the kids in how they are reacting. He said that his son shouldn’t have done that and he would not have been opposed to an in-school suspension, but for his son to be given a three day suspension for something everyone is doing is going overboard.
Paul Entingh told the media:
“He said he was playing. It would even make more sense maybe if he brought a plastic gun that looked like a real gun or something, but it was his finger.”
District spokesperson Jeff Warner said that Patricia Price, Principal at the school has warned students about pretending to shoot each other with their fingers. He told the media:
“The kids were told, ‘If you don’t stop doing this type of stuff, there would be consequences.’ It’s just been escalating.”
In 1998, the Ohio state legislature, which was GOP controlled in both houses, passed legislation that required all state schools to adopt a zero tolerance policy. This is a reaction to the shootings that took place at Columbine High School in Colorado a couple years earlier. According to the Columbus Dispatch, there have been a few instances of Columbus schools taking undo actions against students because of the zero tolerance policies:
“• In 1999, an elementary principal pressed criminal charges against an 8-year-old boy who she said assaulted her by flailing, kicking and screaming during a temper tantrum. A juvenile court judge dismissed the charge, saying the boy was too young to have had ‘criminal intent.’”
“• In 2000, a second-grader was suspended for two days at Huy Elementary School on the North Side for wielding a gun he had drawn on paper and cut out.”
“• In 2009, a 14-year-old Northland High School student faced a one-year expulsion after he fired a Nerf foam-dart gun at school. The district settled for a suspension instead.”
The problem with zero tolerance is that all common sense flies out the window. The schools work so hard to brainwash students into being tolerant concerning homosexuality, illegal aliens, Muslims, and other issues, but when it comes to be being and acting like kids have for centuries they are totally intolerant. What kind of messages are they sending to the kids?
This is why Ohio State Sen. Charleta Tavares, (D-Columbus) is seeking to overturn the 1998 zero tolerance law because of issues like what just happened to Nathan Entingh and the others. She said that the zero tolerance policies lead to unfair punishments which should be reserved for more serious infractions. The bill, which was introduced last year, is still in committee.
What I find ironic about this is that it was conservative Republicans who enacted the bill that has led to unjust punishments for kids being kids and it is a Democrat that is seeking to overturn the law. So for once, I am actually supporting the action of a Democratic politician, but don’t think I’ll support many others or that I’m getting soft in my old age. If anything, I’m becoming more conservative with each passing day and only wish America was too.