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  1. #21
    Forum Member nyckftbl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    WHY don't you like Zero tolerance??

    What is your City/County and fire department policy on drugs?

    My city and department policy is, first offence and you are gone. PERIOD!

    We dont' need drugs users in our department.
    This thread had nothing to do with fire depts....


    What if your dept doesnt use the federal numbers for opiates, but their own stricter standards, that cause false positives after 2 poppy seed bagels?

    What if your dept has a strict zero tolerance for violence policy....and you have to defend yourself while possibly injuring your attacker?

    What if your child forgot his small knife from Boy Scouts in his coat pocket and went to school in a place with zero tolerance for "weapons"?

    How about arresting 14 year olds for making joke lists about people that have ****ed them off?

    How about the 2 8 year old kids in Florida who got suspended for "terroristic threats" because they were playing cops and robbers?

    Or the 3rd grader in Louisiana who got suspended for drawing a soldier armed with a canteen and a knife?

    All of these have happened within the last 4 or 5 years, all in places with "zero tolerance" rules.



    Zero tolerance denies the right to due process, doesnt allow adults to use discretion, and is merely a giant step towards the cowardice of CYA that recent generations have adopted.
    Proud East Coast Traditionalist.


  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    WHY don't you like Zero tolerance??

    What is your City/County and fire department policy on drugs?

    My city and department policy is, you come up dirty or get caught using and you are gone. PERIOD!

    We dont' need drugs users in our department.
    Virtually all depts that I know of have zero tolerance, but in Canada, if a FF or medic is past probationary period, they cannot be fired for simple posession or based on blood test. All deptsmust have and cover rehad and counselling. Its not restricted to Fire depts, virtually all businesses and govt agencies. I'm not saying I necessarily agree with it, but remember these are adults in jobs. I can't say the same for a high school student. How many on here are horrified at the thought that an 18 or younger person could be a FF, since they don't have the life experience or maturity to be one.

  3. #23
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    This thread had nothing to do with fire depts....


    What if your dept doesnt use the federal numbers for opiates, but their own stricter standards, that cause false positives after 2 poppy seed bagels?

    What if your dept has a strict zero tolerance for violence policy....and you have to defend yourself while possibly injuring your attacker?

    What if your child forgot his small knife from Boy Scouts in his coat pocket and went to school in a place with zero tolerance for "weapons"?

    How about arresting 14 year olds for making joke lists about people that have ****ed them off?

    How about the 2 8 year old kids in Florida who got suspended for "terroristic threats" because they were playing cops and robbers?

    Or the 3rd grader in Louisiana who got suspended for drawing a soldier armed with a canteen and a knife?

    All of these have happened within the last 4 or 5 years, all in places with "zero tolerance" rules.



    Zero tolerance denies the right to due process, doesnt allow adults to use discretion, and is merely a giant step towards the cowardice of CYA that recent generations have adopted.
    YES!!! Finally, someone who gets it (besides the good Chief of course!)

    Zero tolerance policies take away the discretion part and the flexibility of looking at something case by case. However, there needs to be firm, but fair enforcement.

    I agree with the great Chief, it DOES start with the parents!! If the parents would put in half of an effort, we would have better kids these days. This doesn't sound like the case here though. Sounds as if he was a upper middle class student with snobbish parents who say "it was just a little pot." This is the problem with people these days. "it was just a little pot" yeah, that's the same as saying " it was just a little money I stole from the bank" It is illegal, period. To say anything else is just condoning the behavior and saying it's ok to break the law "just a little bit."

    There has to be common sense here. What is his history? What was his attitude about it? How much did he have? Was he selling it? All of this needs to be considered for punishment.

    Zero tolerance policies are not the answer. The punishment should be on a case by case basis based on the facts of the case. Not because of some school policy made up by someone who doesn't understand how it works.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    YES!!! Finally, someone who gets it (besides the good Chief of course!)

    Zero tolerance policies take away the discretion part and the flexibility of looking at something case by case. However, there needs to be firm, but fair enforcement.

    I agree with the great Chief, it DOES start with the parents!! If the parents would put in half of an effort, we would have better kids these days. This doesn't sound like the case here though. Sounds as if he was a upper middle class student with snobbish parents who say "it was just a little pot." This is the problem with people these days. "it was just a little pot" yeah, that's the same as saying " it was just a little money I stole from the bank" It is illegal, period. To say anything else is just condoning the behavior and saying it's ok to break the law "just a little bit."

    There has to be common sense here. What is his history? What was his attitude about it? How much did he have? Was he selling it? All of this needs to be considered for punishment.

    Zero tolerance policies are not the answer. The punishment should be on a case by case basis based on the facts of the case. Not because of some school policy made up by someone who doesn't understand how it works.


    A few years back I heard about a kid who brought ingredients to school to bake something in home economics class (with the teacher's permission), and was suspended because someone decided that he was in posession of look alike drugs, and the school had a zero tolerance policy.

    Thats why they are not the answer.

  5. #25
    Forum Member firecat1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    I can't say I agree with you on this Harve. Too many times the knee jerk reaction is to blame the parents. How many people on here took a drink or got pi**ed before legal drinking age? I would venture to say most. How many took a puff or a lot more before the legal age of buying cigarettes. Are their parents totally responsible. Lets face it, kids will make mistakes and do some stupid things no matter the quality of upbringing. Peer pressure has a lot to do with it, as well as immaturity which is normal in a teenager. If this kid didn't have any prior record, I think a severe warning with parental involvment would be warranted, along with if strike two, your history.

    Bryan, you and I usually see things the same way on most issues but on this one, no. I understand underage experimentation and yes, some of the things so experienced are stupid and thus have negative consequences. In most cases, I'm a 'live and let live' kind of person; after all, I made my own share of mistakes growing up, like most of us.

    However, if kids want to indulge in drugs/drink/whatever, it should be on their own time in a private environment, not in a school or other very public environment. He had pot at school and that is just not acceptable. High school seniors are supposed to be using that year as a transition period into the "real world", whether it includes college or not. The real world means taking responsibility for your actions and if he gets off with just a slap on the wrist, how is he to learn how things really work out here?

    A college freshman who gets full legal action taken against him for the same infraction or the 18 y.o. who joins the military and then decides "just one joint won't hurt" and gets thrown out with a dishonorable discharge are paying the consequences of their actions and this kid who's almost an adult {legal age wise!} needs to learn that "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".

    Sorry about the soapbox, I just have a real issue with kid-gloving drug use.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by firecat1 View Post
    Bryan, you and I usually see things the same way on most issues but on this one, no. I understand underage experimentation and yes, some of the things so experienced are stupid and thus have negative consequences. In most cases, I'm a 'live and let live' kind of person; after all, I made my own share of mistakes growing up, like most of us.

    However, if kids want to indulge in drugs/drink/whatever, it should be on their own time in a private environment, not in a school or other very public environment. He had pot at school and that is just not acceptable. High school seniors are supposed to be using that year as a transition period into the "real world", whether it includes college or not. The real world means taking responsibility for your actions and if he gets off with just a slap on the wrist, how is he to learn how things really work out here?

    A college freshman who gets full legal action taken against him for the same infraction or the 18 y.o. who joins the military and then decides "just one joint won't hurt" and gets thrown out with a dishonorable discharge are paying the consequences of their actions and this kid who's almost an adult {legal age wise!} needs to learn that "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".

    Sorry about the soapbox, I just have a real issue with kid-gloving
    drug use.
    Firecat, I understand exactly where you are coming from and I totally agree that we must make our children responsible for their actions. In this case however, I think the penalty exceeds the crime. There may be other circumstances in thislads background, but to get criminal charges laid and expulsion from school for this I feel is a bit overboard. I guess I look at this in the same manner that I look at alcohol or cigarettes. Both are far more damaging to society as a whole than pot. I feel that enough disciplinary action could be taken with out involving the police and without ruining his future which could be the case here. I respect your opinion and I guess if I had my way, booze and cigarettes would be put in the same category if not more serious. I've seen many friends ruin their lives and health going that route.

  7. #27
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    All good points all round, but the simple fact remains and it is a simple fact:

    Illicit drugs are just that Illicit. Period and simple.

    The requirements of the law are equally simple and explicit:

    You get caught "carrying", you get a (probable) misdemenour charge. You get caught with probable intent to distribute, you get time in a small box, with steel bars on the window. Period and simple.

    If we continue to do the "Ah well, he's a young'n, lets let him go this time." Ok, thats great. How many more "let him goes" do we let go? The buck has to start somewhere, and it has to stop somewhere. Too bad that this particular kid was on the Varsity Team and was planning for JMU. Great! Bully for him. I guess he may not get there now eh?

    Imagine if you will:

    What would the story be if this was a simple kid from the lesser afluent part of town, and a minority (I'll be blunt - he's an Afro-American). What do you think would have been the result if, given the same scenario, JMU etc do you think would be happening now?

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    The child has absolutely no grounds to complain. He knew the consequences of his actions. He willingly chose to ignore the rules, and he's just upset because he's got to pay the price.

  9. #29
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Ok. My jaw dropped when I read the underlined text....

    Why our schools aren't what they used to be


    By Geoff Johnson, Times ColonistApril 2, 2009

    The principal who tried to restore an orderly learning environment in his school by blocking cellphones, only to learn that the law was actually on the side of the students, did the smart thing by just backing away from the problem. He probably knows about the legal and bureaucratic jungle faced these days by school administrators trying to provide what was once an orderly learning environment in our schools.

    A student suspension issue which emerged out of a South Vancouver Island school district some years ago is the classic illustration of why running schools safely is increasingly difficult for those in charge. It also explains why principals and superintendents might be better equipped with a law degree rather than a degree in education.

    The student in question, the one identified by other students as having brought a gun to school, was suspended immediately by the principal who then, as per the requirements of the School Act of the day, referred the matter to the superintendent who, in turn, informed the board.

    While the principal in this case had the authority to effect a short-term suspension the school board of the day needed to become involved as quickly as possible in order to cover the possibility that the principal's decision to suspend would be appealed and overturned by the board after an appeal by the parent under the School Act.

    Even the board's decision could subsequently have been appealed to the Ministry of Education, which would appoint a "Superintendent of Achievement" to investigate and possibly uphold the appeal.

    But it did not get that far. Not immediately anyway.

    Subsequently the student and parent, along with the parent's lawyer, sought a prompt meeting with the superintendent.

    There was, you see, an immediate problem with the suspension which had been enacted in accordance with the School Act.

    The School Act gives administrative officers (including principals) the authority to suspend students. An administrative officer of a school or the superintendent of schools may suspend a student of the school if the rules made by the board operating the school do not provide otherwise, and the suspension is carried out in accordance with those rules.

    In turn students, according to section 6 of the School Act, must comply

    (a) with the school rules authorized by the principal of the school or provincial school attended by the student, and

    (b) with the code of conduct and other rules and policies of the board or the provincial school.

    So far so good, you might say. The kid brought a gun to school -- what's the problem?

    The problem in this case, as the student's lawyer was quick to point out was that there was no specific prohibition, either in school or district policy, against bringing a gun to school.

    True, there were boodles of other kinds of provincial and federal legislation governing carrying weapons, concealed or otherwise, but the school suspension was not enacted by a policeman under any of that legislation, but by the school system.

    And the lawyer, in this case, was correct. The student had not actually contravened a specific policy of either the school or the school district.

    There is more to the story, and the situation was eventually resolved sensibly, if not easily.

    Ironically, the superintendent may have been on firmer ground had he invoked section 8.98 of the Workers' Compensation Act, which requires that it is the duty of the employer to know the "nature and extent" of the risk, inform employees of risk and respond to potential violence with a plan to eliminate or reduce the risk.

    According to the 1999 Ministry of Education resource book Focus on Suspension: "Since B.C.'s legislation recognizes violence in a school as a workplace hazard, school boards must ensure that schools take action to plan for potential violence. This may mean that the principal or superintendent considers suspending a student to ensure employee safety. However, this does not mean that students must automatically be subject to out-of school suspension."

    In other words the Workers' Compensation Act in this case probably had more clout than the school, the school district or even the School Act to deal with the student's action in bringing the gun.

    So the problems faced by the secondary school principal who recently sought to block cellphone use in his school pale into insignificance in comparison to the layers of legality, appeals, appeals of appeals and general second guessing which hog tie the people running schools in their losing battle to provide a safe learning environment.

    And people wonder why our schools ain't what they used to be.

    Geoff Johnson is a retired superintendent of schools who writes on issues in public education.

    © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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