James Tate went to his senior prom after all. The Shelton, Connecticut high school student created quite a stir when he posted his prom invitation to Sonali Rodrigues in 12-inch-high cardboard letters on the school wall.
School officials said that was a safety risk. They suspended Tate for a day and barred him from the prom. Headmaster Beth Smith later reversed that decision, after finding herself at the center of a media hurricane … both mainstream and social. Apparently, a good many people thought the punishment far exceeded the crime.
So-called “zero tolerance” policies are designed to protect school districts from legal action. Of course, school officials will say such policies are meant to protect the students and faculty. I agree … to a point.
I wonder if school officials sometimes overreact to disciplinary situations primarily to cover their rear ends. Aren’t their times … especially with younger students … when a good lecture and warning not to do that again are good enough? Should educators have the freedom to ensure that punishment is truly appropriate for the offense?
Our thought for today is from Cicero:
“Let the punishment match the offense.”