Recently, a six-year-old boy was suspended from Stratton Meadows Elementary School in Colorado Springs for allegedly threatening classmates. The boy’s father spoke with a local ABC news affiliate, telling reporters that his son was suspended from school for one day after the boy used his fingers to mimic a gun, and while pointing at a classmate said, “You’re dead.”
The boy’s parents acknowledged the zero tolerance policy but contended that a one-day suspension for a first grader seemed a bit drastic.
According to school records, the boy was counseled by an administrator about the concept of being dead and the importance of distinguishing reality from games and playing pretend.
The boy’s parents say they have spoken with the child as well. They have explained to him how dangerous guns can be in the wrong hands, that there is an appropriate time and place for everything and that school is not the right place for guns, or even pretend gun play. They have also explained to him the difference between playing guns and what happens in real life if you shoot someone. Additionally, the boy wrote a letter to the school, at the prompting of his parents, apologizing for his actions.
The zero tolerance policy in schools consists of punishing any infraction of a rule, regardless of ignorance, accidents, or extenuating circumstances. In the school systems, zero tolerance policies commonly target possession and use of illicit drugs and/or weapons. Strict adherence to the policy dictates that any student, visitor, or faculty/staff member found in violation, must be punished.
While these policies are intended to prevent violence and drug abuse in schools, some critics maintain that zero tolerance sometimes result in punishments which are unnecessarily harsh on students and faculty, perhaps even discriminatory against certain demographic groups.
Zero tolerance policies became widespread in the United States in 1994, when federal legislation mandated the loss of all federal funding for any school that did not administer a one-year expulsion to any student in possession of a firearm on school property.
Intended as a behavior modification strategy, zero tolerance policies are designed to foster an appropriate and conducive learning environment. However, critics of zero tolerance policies assert that they are excessively strict rules, which benefit no one.
Contact Our Boulder Criminal Defense Lawyers
Situations like this one occur all the time in Colorado. Sadly, many children are even arrested and charged with crimes while they are in school. Oftentimes, these charges are not warranted and when this occurs, parents need an experienced and skilled Boulder criminal defense lawyer to protect their child’s rights. If your child has been arrested and charged with a crime in school, we can help. Contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297 to start building a solid defense against these serious criminal charges.