I’m not sure what to think about this article about a young student who drew a picture of shooting his teacher.  On the one hand, I can see the mom’s point of view and think the school went a little too far with their “zero tolerance” policy.  The boy, after all, is autistic and his mom makes a good point when she says he doesn’t understand the implied threat in his drawing but still…

From the viewpoint of a teacher, I can see why the schools have to crack down on this sort of behavior.  I saw way too many kids threatening their teachers with physical harm back when I was teaching.  I was a part of my school’s restraint team and I went through days of training to learn how to handle students who had a tendency to get violent.  I can tell you from personal experience even second graders can be dangerous–and incredibly strong.  Not to mention, scary.

So, yes, I can see the parent’s disbelief that her child is being prosecuted for a drawing that he probably drew in anger and most likely didn’t mean, but I can also understand why schools need to do what they can to stop these kinds of things from happening.  What if the student actually had access to a gun?  Would he take it to school one day and use it on the teacher?  It’s possible he would, especially given the mother’s argument, because if he doesn’t have the mental capacity to realize the drawing is a threat to his teacher then I’d say he wouldn’t understand that shooting someone could mean that person’s death.  Does he even understand what death is?  And without judging the mother, if she’s made excuses for this child’s behavior all his life because he is autistic then does he know that every action has a definite reaction–other than his mom coming to his defense and saying he isn’t to blame?

I don’t know.  Is it time to say enough already to “Zero Tolerance” and let the kids get away with this kind of behavior or is it time to lay down the law and quit letting them get away with whatever they do just because they’re kids?  

I think if we don’t do something soon we’re going to end up in even bigger trouble.  I mean, why would anyone choose to be a teacher if it means putting their life on the line?  A country without teachers wouldn’t be a good thing.

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