"... knows the legal system well ... can clearly convince anyone of anything..." P.V.

Contact Bernard Now

Posts Tagged ‘Zero Tolerance’

Enough of Zero Tolerance Yet Again?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Six year old first grader Zachary Christie was recently suspended  from Downes Elementary School in Newark Delaware for bringing a camping eating utensil to school.  He was initially faced with the prospect of a 45 day commitment to reform school for his transgression.

In previous blog entries I addressed the Milpitas California High School Official’s decision to bar from high school graduation ceremonies a student who had broken up an on school campus fight in the name of maintaining the integrity of the school district’s zero tolerance policy on campus violence, and the United States Supreme Court’s decision of early this year in Safford School District v. Redding, where the court deemed unreasonable a strip search of a 13 year old girl alleged to have been in possession of ibuprofen.

Enough of zero tolerance yet?  The Newark Delaware School District Board voted to amend the district’s zero tolerance policy allowing for a less draconian punishment for Zachary of three to five days of suspension, rather than the initially indicated reform school commitment.  To accommodate Zachary the amendment to the policy was made retroactive to the beginning of the school year.

Are schools really moving forward?   Is this a signal of the beginning of the end of zero judgment, zero tolerance for school culture in the United States?

If you or someone you know has questions regarding criminal justice issues and youth please contact the San Jose Juvenile Lawyers at the Law Offices of Bernard P. Bray.

Enough of Zero Tolerance yet?

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

In a previous blog entry I addressed the Milpitas High School Official’s decision to bar from high school graduation ceremonies a student who had broken up an on school campus fight in the name of maintaining the integrity of the school district’s zero tolerance policy on campus violence.

As it realtes to another zero tolerance policy the United States Supreme Court now has now ruled in the case of Safford Unified School District v. Redding on school campus drug possession. The case concerns Savanna Redding who was a 13 year old honor student at the time that she was strip searched after being identified by another student as possibly being in possession of Ibuprofen. The now 19 year old Ms. Redding recalled being stripped to her underwear, being made to move her bra from side to side, and further being made to open her legs and pull out her underwear, all in the name of the school’s zero tolerance policy regarding drugs.

The issue was framed by the United States Supreme Court in terms of whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits suspicious public school officials from conducting a strip search of a student suspected of possession or distributing drugs on campus in violation of school policy?

Courts generally have taken a heavy handed approach when dealing with issues concerning the scourge of the American drug problem. As the father of three daughters familiar with the sensitivities of young women, and a person of generally even keeled temperament, I can unequivocally say that in my opinion any near naked search of a 13 year old girl by suspicious school administrators is clearly excessive and unacceptable. What could those callous administrators have been thinking?

Enough already with zero tolerance, zero judgment, and maybe even a new direction for school culture in the United States?  Thankfully, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the high school officials violated Ms. Redding’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, writing that the content of the suspicion failed to match the degree of intrusion.

If you or someone you know has question regarding criminal justice issues and youth please contact the San Jose criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Bernard P. Bray.

School and Law (rule) Enforcement: A Good Thing?

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

A groundswell of support has sprung forth for a Milpitas High School youth who was ordered barred from participation in graduation ceremonies as a result of breaking up a fight. The San Jose Mercury reports that school officials are sympathetic, but cannot make exceptions to school health and safety rules.

Brenda Ann Spencer’s shooting spree on a San Diego elementary school campus in 1979 culminated in the creation of the Right to Safe Schools Amendment to the California Constitution with the 1982 passage of Proposition 8. Sweeping changes in California’s school culture followed. Now after years of change it may be time for reflection. Are our kids really at greater risk of death or great bodily harm as we send them off to school every morning than historically? Have we unnecessarily changed our attitudes about the culture of school environments being primarily learning environments, to the now zero tolerance environments akin to jails that apparently exists on one Milpitas High School campus, because of isolated incidents? Have we excessively employed the use of Law (rule) Enforcement on school campuses in the name of safety, at the expense of our young having the opportunity to experience, play, adapt, and most importantly, learn?

Should California school culture continue to revolve to such an extent around Law (rule) Enforcement?

If you or someone you know has questions regarding criminal justice issues and youth please contact the San Jose criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Bernard P. Bray.

Call Now: (408) 292-9700

Contact Bernard Now