The reviewed publication was about a kindergarten student at a Colorado elementary school
who was swiftly suspended from school after bringing a bubble gun onto school grounds. The
little girl brought the item to school without the knowledge or approval of her mother. The
bubble gun was a small clear plastic toy with pictures of princesses that had a bottle of bubbles
attached, but was clearly in the shape of a gun. The student removed the gun from her backpack
before the start of the school day to show her friends. When the gun was discovered, the
student and the gun were immediately taken to the principal’s office and disciplinary action was
taken. The student was immediately placed on suspension and her mother was notified to pick
her up immediately. The school informed the parent they had a strict zero tolerance policy on
gun control and that the suspension was the disciplinary action set in their school policy. The
child’s parent picked her up and the child was suspended for the remainder of the school day.
The student was allowed to return to school the next day. However, the student was upset over
the punishment and did not want to return to school the next day. The mother, who was clearly
upset and in disagreement with the punishment, took to the media to express her feelings on
the situation. She stated that she would not have publicly discussed the situation, but she felt
the principal conveyed a superior attitude and would not discuss the situation with her. She felt
the principal was going to enforce the punishment no matter what the circumstances presented
may be. Obviously, the child’s mother did not feel her daughter should have received such a
harsh punishment. She felt that the school’s corrective action toward her daughter was
unforgiving and needless.

Zero tolerance policies in schools are often a topic of great debate. A zero tolerance policy is one
in which the violation of a rule is given a specific and set punishment regardless of the
circumstances behind the action. In this story under review I do not agree with the school’s
actions regarding the punishment of a kindergarten child who brought a bubble gun onto school

grounds. I understand, and agree, that schools must provide safety and protection to their
students and faculty; however I also feel that there needs to be a balance between the safety of
the students and proper punishment. I believe that zero tolerance policies are an ineffective
means of regulating behavior within a school system. As seen in this case, if students are
receiving punishments that are extreme and don’t necessarily make sense to the student, the
punishment becomes ineffective and instead generates emotions of anger and a loss of respect
for the school in the student. I do believe that policies should be in place to provide safety to all
students and to create a safe environment within the school, however violations of the policy
should be viewed on a case by case basis, and punishments should be given as seen fit. For
example, in this case this little girl did not mean any harm to any student, the behavior was not
violent in nature, and the child was so small she did not understand the extent of her actions.
The school’s actions of providing such a harsh punishment created a sense of unease and
uncertainty in the girl concerning her school. This was demonstrated in her fear of returning to
school the next day. Removing this small child from her classroom for a day did not send a
message to her fellow students regarding the importance of following school policies, nor did it
create a safer environment than had already existed before the student was removed. In
actuality, the punishment did nothing more than create a sense of mistrust between a small
child and her school.

3. As an employee of any school district it is important to know and understand all policies and
procedures within the school district. It is a teacher’s responsibility to report or take action as
necessary if any policies set forth by the school district have been violated. Although a teacher
may not necessarily agree with a school’s policy or disciplinary action, it is important to
demonstrate to the students that you respect the rules and procedures of the school. If a
teacher fails to demonstrate respect, how can we expect students to be respectful and obey the

rules? Therefore in my discipline as a secondary biology teacher I will be sure to follow and show
agreement with any zero tolerance policies my school may have in place. I will be responsible to
take action against any student in violation of these policies regardless of the situation or
circumstances. It is also my responsibility to ensure a safe environment for my students, and
any behavior violent in nature will not be tolerated. I will be sure to provide the message to my
students that I stand behind my school in any policies they have in place. Violations of these
policies will not be tolerated. Also, because I will be instructing students in 7th grade or above, I
would expect these students to also be well aware of and understand the school’s policies and
disciplinary actions. Students will be held accountable for their actions. Any violations of a zero
tolerance policy would be handled immediately and brought to the attention of the school
administration. I would show my support to any decisions or punishments they place upon a


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