Pubdate: Mon, 11 Oct 1999
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register
Section: Local News,page 7
Author: Jim Mladenik-Irvine


The principle of zero tolerance has been distorted by overzealous
opponents and proponents into an unworkable concept. It is a simple
idea: Perpetrators of certain serious offenses are guaranteed strict
punishments. Where this principle has been twisted is by the fanatical
extension of the definition of these crimes.

For example, automatic expulsion of a high school student who brings
a loaded firearm to school is probably not excessive. However, in
order to apply this rule to a grade school student who brings a
miniature GI Joe plastic gun to school, you have to be one of two
extremes: 1)A fanatical zero-tolerance proponent who is a control
freak, or 2) someone strongly opposed to the zero-tolerance concept
who wants to generate a backlash against its application. If the
crimes and punishments are narrowly and precisely defined, most of the
arguments about zero tolerance would cease.

Jim Mladenik
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek Rea