Monday, April 06, 2009

Daily Drug War stupidity

A teenager in Virginia was given a two week suspension for taking a birth control pill.

It's this kind of stupid that makes me dread letting my son get entangled in the public school system in this country. I hope Albany (or wherever we end up) has a better system.

You know, I kind of empathize with the conservative home-schoolers: I don't agree with why they want to take their kids out of the system, but I can share their fear of handing my child over to a system that doesn't reflect our values and doesn't seem created to address our child's needs.

To be fair to the school, these kinds of "zero tolerance" policies don't just pop, fully formed, out of the stupid hat. They are encouraged by our national drug criminalization scheme, our litigious culture, our poor handling of adolescence, our over-burdened school system, and probably a bunch of other stuff. Maybe this school needed a "zero tolerance" policy in order to avoid lawsuits or deal with rampant substance abuse. Maybe they just don't have the institutional wherewithal to deal with each incident intelligently. And so we get blanket policies that result in numerous cases of extreme stupid.

If I grew up in such a school system, I might have dropped out and/or developed extreme contempt for school and other institutions of authority.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's certainly a lot of stupidity in America's public school system, but I don't think it's all bad. I'm partially a product of it. But I think it does vary greatly from region to region and school to school. E.g. I know I was very lucky in high school: we started the International Baccalaureate program. That not only gave me the intellectual challenges I needed, but it put me under the care of my school's best teachers.

But where I was most lucky was in my parents. They recognised I wasn't getting what I needed in elementary school, and transferred me to where I met you, Grishnash, & jdm314. While it wasn't all a bed of roses either (I was an academic train wreck until the latter part of 7th grade), that's where I got the foundation that let me realise my intellectual potential to the degree it qualified me for IB studies.

Parental involvement is no panacea either, but it seems to lack generally nationwide. That in turn leads to teacher burn-out, which helps feed the stupidity. It's a classic vicious cycle, IMO.

2:37 AM, April 07, 2009  
Blogger said...

a google search will turn up plenty of news articles about students getting suspended for taking tylenol or ibuprofen. i'm an ardent (male) feminist, but this has less to do with anything pertaining to women's sexuality than with our public schools' ineptitude in dealing with drugs and violence.

and i'm aware that you didn't make any such claims, but i just feel this needs to be pointed out because the headline "student is suspended for taking birth control" just screams women's rights issue.

1:13 AM, April 09, 2009  

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