Are educators taking zero tolerance too far? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Are educators taking zero tolerance too far?

Posted: Updated:

For almost 20 years, the zero tolerance federal law requires a minimum one-year expulsion of any student caught with a firearm on school property.

But the law gives local school administrators flexibility to fit circumstances. Many elementary school parents across the country say educators are taking everything too seriously, and it's time to get real.

There are instances where kindergartners are being suspended and forced into psychological evaluations because they used their finger as a gun on the playground, or had a bubble gun and threatened to blast bubbles.

Parents say that's just taking it too far. With recent tragedies, safety is a priority, but so is a child's innocence. Parents, and even a local school representative say common sense has got to come into play.

"I was pretending to play something with guns and they just made a big deal out of it," said eight-year-old Aragon Perez.

He certainly wasn't playing with a real gun, or even a toy gun. He was using his own hands and his imagination .  Still, his teacher told him to stop.

"So now I have to play something else," he said.

He wasn't suspended, but said his grandmother talked to him about why some teachers and students may not like his game.

Perez is part of a recent growing number of young children being corrected or even suspended for what parents say is simple child's play. Some suspensions have involved children as young as five years old.

"Are we talking about a terrorist threat by a four year old? I doubt it very seriously. I would contend that children are children and they play games," said one grandparent.

"I think that it's a little much to put on a child and suspend a child for reasons they're not even going to understand at that age," said another parent.

Some parents admit they didn't even mention the sandy hook shooting to their young children because the topic is too heavy, maybe even scary for them.

However, it is on the minds of many school officials whose job it is to ensure students' safety.

"We are certainly not going to put up with instances of bullying and threats and we do take threats very seriously," said Cindy Warner, spokesperson for Shelby County Schools.

Warner says it's also their job to use a common sense approach when it comes to infractions.

"Especially with younger students they sometimes are too young to appreciate the consequences of their action and we are generally going to use a more common sense approach," she said.

Warner says in cases with young students they try to involve the teachers and counselors in helping the student understand why their behavior may not be acceptable, instead of resorting to suspension.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Blount County DA cracking down on degrading social media accounts

    Blount County DA cracking down on degrading social media accounts

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:19 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:19:32 GMT
    Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey is on a mission to shut down several Instagram accounts degrading young women throughout the county. The accounts with names such as "WHORESOFBLOUNTCOUNTY" and "SLUTSOFSUSANMORE" show pictures of teenagers with degrading comments underneath. Casey said the pictures are used without the girls' permission. One site has been taken down, and Casey has asked the social media website to remove them all.More >>
    Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey is on a mission to shut down several Instagram accounts degrading young women throughout the county. The accounts with names such as "WHORESOFBLOUNTCOUNTY" and "SLUTSOFSUSANMORE" show pictures of teenagers with degrading comments underneath. Casey said the pictures are used without the girls' permission. One site has been taken down, and Casey has asked the social media website to remove them all.More >>
  • State Rep. Barry Moore arrested on felony perjury charges in connection with public corruption investigation

    State Rep. Barry Moore arrested on felony perjury charges in connection with public corruption investigation

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:32 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:32:51 GMT
    MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- An member of the Alabama House of Representatives was arrested Thursday on perjury charges, acting Alabama Attorney General W. Van Davis said.More >>
    MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- An member of the Alabama House of Representatives was arrested Thursday on perjury charges, acting Alabama Attorney General W. Van Davis said.More >>
  • Deputy Arrested For Synthetic Marijuana

    Deputy Arrested For Synthetic Marijuana

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:57 AM EDT2014-04-24 11:57:01 GMT
    A Russell County Sheriff's deputy is accused of participating in a drug trafficking operation.The man was arrested Wednesday after police found 1.5 pounds of synthetic marijuana, or spice, in his Lee County apartment. The deputy has been with the sheriff's department for about two months where he worked in the traffic division. He previously worked as a police officer in Phenix City, Ala.It's unclear if charges have officially been filed in the case. A call to the sheriff's office wasn't imme...More >>
    A Russell County Sheriff's deputy is accused of participating in a drug trafficking operation.The man was arrested Wednesday after police found 1.5 pounds of synthetic marijuana, or spice, in his Lee County apartment. The deputy has been with the sheriff's department for about two months where he worked in the traffic division. He previously worked as a police officer in Phenix City, Ala.It's unclear if charges have officially been filed in the case. A call to the sheriff's office wasn't imme...More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Birmingham leaders criticize teen "wet" and "twerk" parties

    Birmingham leaders criticize teen "wet" and "twerk" parties

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:31 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:31:01 GMT
    Recent parties asking teens to "freak," "twerk" and "get wet" are raising safety concerns among Birmingham City leaders.Some of the parties have been held at the Continental Ballroom and other venues for quite some time. Earlier this month, a shooting at the Continental Ballroom resulted in one teenager's injuries. City leaders, consequently, revoked the owner and party promoter's business licenses for that incident and prior complaints.But other upcoming teen parties are planned. They all ch...More >>
    Recent parties asking teens to "freak," "twerk" and "get wet" are raising safety concerns among Birmingham City leaders.Some of the parties have been held at the Continental Ballroom and other venues for quite some time. Earlier this month, a shooting at the Continental Ballroom resulted in one teenager's injuries. City leaders, consequently, revoked the owner and party promoter's business licenses for that incident and prior complaints.But other upcoming teen parties are planned. They all ch...More >>
  • Birmingham man becomes third suspect arrested in Inglenook triple shooting investigation

    Birmingham man becomes third suspect arrested in Inglenook triple shooting investigation

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:24 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:24:13 GMT
    Three suspects charged in connection with a triple shooting in the Inglenook community of Birmingham. (abc3340.com)Three suspects charged in connection with a triple shooting in the Inglenook community of Birmingham. (abc3340.com)
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Birmingham police have arrested a third suspect in connection an investigation into a triple shooting in the Inglenook community.Cedric Willis, 28, of Birmingham, is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault for his alleged role in a shooting on Apr. 16 that injured three people. Prior to Willis' arrest, investigators charged two other men -- 22-year-old Tradarryl Boykins and 24-year-old Leroy DeBruce -- in connection with the incid...More >>
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Birmingham police have arrested a third suspect in connection an investigation into a triple shooting in the Inglenook community.Cedric Willis, 28, of Birmingham, is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault for his alleged role in a shooting on Apr. 16 that injured three people. Prior to Willis' arrest, investigators charged two other men -- 22-year-old Tradarryl Boykins and 24-year-old Leroy DeBruce -- in connection with the incid...More >>
  • Skills USA Conference in Birmingham this week

    Skills USA Conference in Birmingham this week

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:22 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:22:57 GMT
    Students are showing off their skills at the BJCC, in various competitions including carpentry, cosmetology, electrical technology and video production.More >>
    Students are showing off their skills at the BJCC, in various competitions including carpentry, cosmetology, electrical technology and video production.
    More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Gadsden man found with over 600 pornographic images and videos, arrested on child porn charges

    Gadsden man found with over 600 pornographic images and videos, arrested on child porn charges

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:11:36 GMT
    Pablo Gabriel UrbinaPablo Gabriel Urbina
    A Gadsden man was arrested Tuesday on child pornography charges following an extensive investigation by several law enforcement agencies, the Etowah County Sheriff's Office said.More >>
    A Gadsden man was arrested Tuesday on child pornography charges following an extensive investigation by several law enforcement agencies, the Etowah County Sheriff's Office said.More >>
  • Search for Riverside man in Logan Martin Lake enters day 3

    Search for Riverside man in Logan Martin Lake enters day 3

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:31 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:31:06 GMT
    Various law enforcement agencies are assisting in the search for a Riverside man who went missing in Logan Martin Lake. (abc3340.com)Various law enforcement agencies are assisting in the search for a Riverside man who went missing in Logan Martin Lake. (abc3340.com)
    The search continues for a Riverside man who fell from a fishing boat in Logan Martin Lake on Sunday.More >>
    The search continues for a Riverside man who fell from a fishing boat in Logan Martin Lake on Sunday.
    More >>
  • Officer-involved shooting in Anniston leaves 53-year-old man dead

    Officer-involved shooting in Anniston leaves 53-year-old man dead

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:24:15 GMT
    ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) - Calhoun County officials say Anniston police fatally shot a man who was accused of pointing a gun at them. According to County Coroner Shane Adrian, 53-year-old Frank Charles Johnston was pronounced dead after being shot outside his house in the Blue Mountain area Tuesday morning. Adrian says neighbors told investigators that Johnston was standing in the street with a gun and that he pointed the weapon at responding officers. Adrian says Johnston's body is being taken to...More >>
    ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) - Calhoun County officials say Anniston police fatally shot a man who was accused of pointing a gun at them. According to County Coroner Shane Adrian, 53-year-old Frank Charles Johnston was pronounced dead after being shot outside his house in the Blue Mountain area Tuesday morning. Adrian says neighbors told investigators that Johnston was standing in the street with a gun and that he pointed the weapon at responding officers. Adrian says Johnston's body is being taken to...More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Birmingham leaders criticize teen "wet" and "twerk" parties

    Birmingham leaders criticize teen "wet" and "twerk" parties

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:31 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:31:01 GMT
    Recent parties asking teens to "freak," "twerk" and "get wet" are raising safety concerns among Birmingham City leaders.Some of the parties have been held at the Continental Ballroom and other venues for quite some time. Earlier this month, a shooting at the Continental Ballroom resulted in one teenager's injuries. City leaders, consequently, revoked the owner and party promoter's business licenses for that incident and prior complaints.But other upcoming teen parties are planned. They all ch...More >>
    Recent parties asking teens to "freak," "twerk" and "get wet" are raising safety concerns among Birmingham City leaders.Some of the parties have been held at the Continental Ballroom and other venues for quite some time. Earlier this month, a shooting at the Continental Ballroom resulted in one teenager's injuries. City leaders, consequently, revoked the owner and party promoter's business licenses for that incident and prior complaints.But other upcoming teen parties are planned. They all ch...More >>
  • Birmingham man becomes third suspect arrested in Inglenook triple shooting investigation

    Birmingham man becomes third suspect arrested in Inglenook triple shooting investigation

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:24 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:24:13 GMT
    Three suspects charged in connection with a triple shooting in the Inglenook community of Birmingham. (abc3340.com)Three suspects charged in connection with a triple shooting in the Inglenook community of Birmingham. (abc3340.com)
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Birmingham police have arrested a third suspect in connection an investigation into a triple shooting in the Inglenook community.Cedric Willis, 28, of Birmingham, is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault for his alleged role in a shooting on Apr. 16 that injured three people. Prior to Willis' arrest, investigators charged two other men -- 22-year-old Tradarryl Boykins and 24-year-old Leroy DeBruce -- in connection with the incid...More >>
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Birmingham police have arrested a third suspect in connection an investigation into a triple shooting in the Inglenook community.Cedric Willis, 28, of Birmingham, is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault for his alleged role in a shooting on Apr. 16 that injured three people. Prior to Willis' arrest, investigators charged two other men -- 22-year-old Tradarryl Boykins and 24-year-old Leroy DeBruce -- in connection with the incid...More >>
  • Skills USA Conference in Birmingham this week

    Skills USA Conference in Birmingham this week

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:22 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:22:57 GMT
    Students are showing off their skills at the BJCC, in various competitions including carpentry, cosmetology, electrical technology and video production.More >>
    Students are showing off their skills at the BJCC, in various competitions including carpentry, cosmetology, electrical technology and video production.
    More >>
  • Blount County DA cracking down on degrading social media accounts

    Blount County DA cracking down on degrading social media accounts

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:19 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:19:32 GMT
    Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey is on a mission to shut down several Instagram accounts degrading young women throughout the county. The accounts with names such as "WHORESOFBLOUNTCOUNTY" and "SLUTSOFSUSANMORE" show pictures of teenagers with degrading comments underneath. Casey said the pictures are used without the girls' permission. One site has been taken down, and Casey has asked the social media website to remove them all.More >>
    Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey is on a mission to shut down several Instagram accounts degrading young women throughout the county. The accounts with names such as "WHORESOFBLOUNTCOUNTY" and "SLUTSOFSUSANMORE" show pictures of teenagers with degrading comments underneath. Casey said the pictures are used without the girls' permission. One site has been taken down, and Casey has asked the social media website to remove them all.More >>
  • NWS Birmingham: Temporary antenna installed for NOAA weather radio alerts

    NWS Birmingham: Temporary antenna installed for NOAA weather radio alerts

    Thursday, April 24 2014 3:49 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:49:35 GMT
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The National Weather Service in Birmingham has installed a temporary antenna atop Red Mountain, allowing the NOAA weather radio to broadcast on a limited basis ahead of the threat of severe weather next week.More >>
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The National Weather Service in Birmingham has installed a temporary antenna atop Red Mountain, allowing the NOAA weather radio to broadcast on a limited basis ahead of the threat of severe weather next week.More >>
  • UPS files motion for partial summary judgement in lawsuit over Birmingham plane crash

    UPS files motion for partial summary judgement in lawsuit over Birmingham plane crash

    Thursday, April 24 2014 3:43 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:43:17 GMT
    Attorneys for UPS filed a motion for partial summary judgement in a lawsuit over the August 2013 plane crash in Birmingham, Ala. Attorneys for UPS filed a motion for partial summary judgement in a lawsuit over the August 2013 plane crash in Birmingham, Ala.
    JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. -- The United Parcel Service Co. or UPS has filed a motion in Jefferson County Circuit Court requesting a partial summary judgement in the civil lawsuit over the plane crash in Birmingham last year.More >>
    JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. -- The United Parcel Service Co. or UPS has filed a motion in Jefferson County Circuit Court requesting a partial summary judgement in the civil lawsuit over the plane crash in Birmingham last year.More >>
  • Oxmoor Road exit on I-65 North closed due to tractor-trailer accident

    Oxmoor Road exit on I-65 North closed due to tractor-trailer accident

    Thursday, April 24 2014 1:26 PM EDT2014-04-24 17:26:43 GMT
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Authorities have closed the Oxmoor Road exit on Interstate 65 North after an accident involving a tractor-trailer carrying a large excavator.More >>
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Authorities have closed the Oxmoor Road exit on Interstate 65 North after an accident involving a tractor-trailer carrying a large excavator.More >>
  • The Outlet Shops of Grand River hosting free autograph session featuring 4 IndyCar drivers

    The Outlet Shops of Grand River hosting free autograph session featuring 4 IndyCar drivers

    Thursday, April 24 2014 1:23 PM EDT2014-04-24 17:23:00 GMT
    LEEDS, Ala. -- Ahead of this weekend's Indy Grand Prix at Barber's Motorsports Park, The Outlet Shops of Grand River will host a free autograph session featuring four Indy Circuit drivers Friday evening.The four drivers who will be signing autographs included Graham Rahal, Mikhail Aleshin, Justin Wilson and Carlos Huertas, all of whom will be competing in races over the weekend. Also, fans will have an opportunity to win a ride around the shopping center and on Highway 78 in a street-legal In...More >>
    LEEDS, Ala. -- Ahead of this weekend's Indy Grand Prix at Barber's Motorsports Park, The Outlet Shops of Grand River will host a free autograph session featuring four Indy Circuit drivers Friday evening.The four drivers who will be signing autographs included Graham Rahal, Mikhail Aleshin, Justin Wilson and Carlos Huertas, all of whom will be competing in races over the weekend. Also, fans will have an opportunity to win a ride around the shopping center and on Highway 78 in a street-legal In...More >>