Top 5 Most Horrifying Examples of “Zero Tolerance” for Students in 2013

One of the more disheartening trends we’ve seen over the past year is the rise of “zero tolerance” policy enforcement in schools. Unfortunately the world is rarely black or white – when extenuating circumstances aren’t taken into account, good kids are unreasonably punished for not technically following the letter of the rules. Here are five of the most absurd examples of zero tolerance policies at play:

1. Giving a Drunk Friend a Ride

If North Andover High School wants to discourage its students from drinking and driving, it’s going about it all wrong. After receiving a call from an intoxicated friend, teenager Erin Cox showed up at an underage party to give her friend a safe ride. While most people would commend this type of behavior, her school has decided to punish her along with the partygoers for being in the presence of alcohol.

Even the police’s confirmation that Cox was entirely sober and trying to prevent drunk driving was not enough to sway the school from suspending her for her responsible act.


2. An Oddly Shaped Breakfast

Josh Welch was enjoying a strawberry pastry at school when he decided to get creative with his eating. The 7-year-old with ADHD decided to nibble the breakfast treat into the shape of a mountain, but from his teacher’s perspective, it looked more like a gun.

Welch did not even pantomime shooting a gun, but for chewing something that could somehow be construed as violent, he received a two-day suspension from school – and perhaps even more annoying to poor Welch – he was not allowed to finish his breakfast.


3. Science Experiment Gone Wrong

Kiera Wilmot, a star student with no history of discipline, found herself in a heap of trouble after a scientific experiment she was conducting caused a minor explosion. Curiosity inspired her to mix some household ingredient, but Wilmot neither anticipated the chemical reaction nor intended to hurt anyone with her scientific inquiry.

Though even school administrators believed Wilmot to be well-intentioned, she still faced expulsion and criminal weapons charges thanks to the school’s existing zero tolerance policy.


4. Water Balloon Fight

An end of the year water balloon fight at a high school resulted in seven student arrests thanks to the school’s zero tolerance policies. Officials called the police to report the water balloon fight, and the police responded aggressively. One student mistaken for participating in the fight was slammed onto the sidewalk and subsequently hospitalized. An on-looking parent who complained about the unnecessary force was threatened with a stun gun and arrested for “trespassing” on school grounds.

Detentions seem like an appropriate punishment for a harmless water balloon, but instead the kids received disorderly conduct charges with one even getting an assault and battery charge for hitting someone with a water balloon. It’s baffling how there’s zero tolerance for “violence” like water balloons, but excessive police force seems perfectly acceptable.


5. An Empathetic Poem

After the Newton school shooting, young poet Courtni Webb wrote some private verses to try and better make sense of the tragedy. Webb’s poem was a reflection on the culture of violence perpetuated in the United States, leading to a line of empathy with the shooter: “I understand why he pulled the trigger.”

Though the poem was dark in nature, it never condoned the shooting. Nevertheless, when Webb’s teacher discovered the poem in her personal notebook, she turned it in to the administration who deemed it a “threat.” Webb was subsequently expelled under the school’s zero tolerance policy even though her writing was being willfully misinterpreted.


Kelsey Valois
Kelsey Valois4 years ago

Wow...just wow. The 5th one worries me a little, being that i am writing a pretty damn morbid story, being 13. But thats just influence from environment that she was expressing. It was comprehension of the attack.

Sarah clevenger
Sarah clevenger4 years ago

next we wont be able to breath !

Goddess Mary Oliveau
Past Member 4 years ago

K.... The bottom part of the post did not post. :D

"Great news! Kiera's charges have officially been dropped! Polk County State Attorney Jerry Hill announced Wednesday that her case has been dismissed, although she will have to complete a Juvenile Justice Diversion Program, the details of which are currently unknown. Next, Kiera will have to go before a school board hearing officer to determine what the consequences she will receive within the school district.

However, due to Kiera's intense interest in science and the trouble she's faced to pursue it, she has received an incredible offer from NASA engineer Homer Hickam. Hickam, whose life story was told through the film October Sky, has offered Kiera a full scholarship to United States Advanced Space Academy and she has accepted! "

Ponder/Meditate/Pray for Peace.

Mary Oliveau { hugs }

Goddess Mary Oliveau
Past Member 4 years ago

Well I tried to help, but apparently the Charges are being dropped.

Credit; Lynn S. It looks like they were dropped quite some time ago.

An update from the campaign
Drop Charges against Kiera Wilmot
Update #1 Drop Charges against Kiera Wilmot
Posted by Kellen Philotic (campaign supporter)

Ponder/Meditate/Pray for Peace.

Mary Oliveau { hugs }

Goddess Mary Oliveau
Past Member 4 years ago

This is a Petition for Kiera Wilmot

This is what they did to her for her "Science experiment gone wrong."

"Administrators at Bartow High School decided this was a matter for the police. Shortly after the incident, the 16-year-old was arrested and charged with an adult felony: possession/discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device.

The teen was also expelled and will now complete her education in an expulsion program."

Ponder/Meditate/Pray for Peace.

Mary Oliveau { hugs }

William B.
William B.4 years ago

Zero tolerance policies exist for one of two reasons only: the people we pay to administer and judge don't want the responsibility of administering and judging, or they are so incompetent at it that we feel a need to prevent them from doing either.

Janis K.
Janis Kirk4 years ago

And what do they do with the drug dealers and gangs? Don't ya think the whole thing is a little wierd?

Mary B.
Mary B4 years ago

Debbie T,What nonsense! This is not a 'government take over' of our lives, this is freaked out stupid individuals over reacting to local level school policy, sorta like you're over reacting because these are public schools, so you blame the schools, call it a government take over, instead of seeing it's just more people like you acting like bullies with an IQ of 50.

Rob B.
Rob B4 years ago

Dianne, thank idiocy is exactly what this is...there is also the 2nd grader who fired an entirely imaginary bow and arrow at his friend, who fired back another imaginary arrow...they laughed and got suspended from school. I see the same sorts of idiotic decisions by administration day in and day out. Time to stop this stupidity.

Jan H.
Jan H4 years ago

The sky is falling, the sky is falling........ and the world has gone mad. wtf!