Zero Thought

The local rag has a story about how the Duncanville ISD dress code results in 700 suspensions . Get a load of this:

DUNCANVILLE – When Raylee Montgomery’s shirt became untucked in the hall of Duncanville’s Ninth Grade Center, an administrator quickly approached her. The 13-year-old said she apologized, tucked in her shirt, and asked if she could continue to class.

Instead, she was suspended from school, a result of the district’s zero-tolerance dress code policy that some parents say is too extreme.

Zero tolerance goodness. Gotta love government schools.

Duncanville has had more than 700 suspensions for dress code violations since doors to the high school and Ninth Grade Center opened Aug. 18 to 3,540 students. That averages roughly 24 suspensions per school day.

That also comes out to 15-20% of the student population, assuming that there aren’t a massive number of repeat offenders.

The consequences of breaking the rules include a one-day suspension for a first offense, two days for a second offense, and two days plus a loss of school privileges for a third offense.

Don’t look for sense in government schools. I looked at the dress code, and while it is pretty strict, it isn’t overbearing. I work under a stricter dress code here. The problem that I see here is a lack of judgment. That shouldn’t be surprising — zero tolerance usually means zero thought.

It isn’t obvious in the text of the story, but it between the lines: this is about authority and control. Regimentalizing dress and appearance is the first step to regimentalizing thought. That is why the first thing they do in boot camp is shave your head and put you in a plain khaki uniform. That is a Good Thing when you are making soldiers. It is a Bad Thing when you are trying to teach children to think.

On the other hand, there have to be limits. That is why I don’t oppose dress codes in general, even strict ones like in Duncanville. What I do oppose is making a big deal out of minor and trivial infractions. If you want compliance, dish out detention. It sends the message that the rules will be obeyed without the detriment to acedemic performance that missing school has.

This sort of zero-thought policy has one of two effects on a student. It either makes them totally compliant and unwilling to question any rule from an authority figure, or it causes them to learn contempt for all authority figures. If they can’t be trusted to administer minor rules fairly, they cannot be trusted with any rules.

I was the latter. I’m still recovering.

11 Comments

  1. // says:

    [duplicate by “ppp” deleted. — Phelps]

  2. ppp says:

    [duplicate by “ppp” deleted. — Phelps]

  3. ppp says:

    You did not get a good look at the dress code rules. They HAVE to wear shirts with collars and sleeves. You would have to get a look at the annual to see how ludicrous the poor students have been made to look. They are all in the same shirts. There is absolutely no diversity. This school district is run by insane people anyway. I agree with normal dress codes but this is not normal. Duncanville is being laughed at and it should be Jerry Cook who gets fired for all of this negative attention. Get rid of the school board one at a time, methodically, mercilessly, besides one of the members kids talked a bunch of crap about a friend of mine that bordered on sexual harassment, and then get the new board to fire Jerry Cook. It’s not as if he has not quit abruptly from another district in the past right after spending inordinate amounts of money on new buildings and declaring that he would close the gap between student minority grades and grades of others. He hangs up on people and is lying now when he says that the district has not suspended 700 students. He has hired people who are not police to carry pepper spray and sticks on campus. I don’t know why he acts like he cares about the kids when he tells karla oliver who is the district community thingie to give interviews to the school paper that without getting beer and wine in duncanville the school wont have any money. Maybe the school would have money for books, etc., if he had not built a million buildings for his burgeoning campuses. He prolly wants one of the buildings named after him. Just thinking about all the money he makes on students makes me want to barf. That is because he allowed Dallas, Desoto and cedar hill to attend duncanville. You dont see them allowing us to go there. But that cant be changed now. It isnt the kids fault that Jerry Cook is greedy and wants the other towns tax money for himself. He should be audited. They need to fire some people and it would get better. If you complain to the police it will go nowhere in this psycho town. Anyone who talks about it is just blowing steam. Nothing will happen. It will get worse so dont say anything or they will harass you.

  4. Phelps says:

    You did not get a good look at the dress code rules.

    Yes, I did.

    They HAVE to wear shirts with collars and sleeves. You would have to get a look at the annual to see how ludicrous the poor students have been made to look. They are all in the same shirts. There is absolutely no diversity.

    Yeah, I read the part about collars and sleeves. I don’t have a problem with that. Wear golf shirts. $9 at Oshmans. T-shirts are out. No more “past the armpit boob shots” for the guys. Sure, I relish those memories of high school, but I can’t say that they added anything useful to my educational experience. Then again, I was educated in spite of goverment schools, not because of them.

    This school district is run by insane people anyway. I agree with normal dress codes but this is not normal. Duncanville is being laughed at and it should be Jerry Cook who gets fired for all of this negative attention. Get rid of the school board one at a time, methodically, mercilessly, besides one of the members kids talked a bunch of crap about a friend of mine that bordered on sexual harassment, and then get the new board to fire Jerry Cook. It’s not as if he has not quit abruptly from another district in the past right after spending inordinate amounts of money on new buildings and declaring that he would close the gap between student minority grades and grades of others. He hangs up on people and is lying now when he says that the district has not suspended 700 students.

    Uh… so? I’m all for firing a bunch of government school employees and running two-bit school board politicos out of town on a rail, but for entirely different reasons.

    He has hired people who are not police to carry pepper spray and sticks on campus.

    So? I carry a stick and a gun and lots of knives, and I’m not a cop. I don’t think that sticks and pepper spray are enough. I want to see teachers carrying Glocks, I want to see the return of the rifle club. To hell with this “kinder gentler” crap. Talking to a bully doesn’t end bullying — kicking his ass does. Talking to children training to be criminals doesn’t work — kicking their ass does.

    I don’t know why he acts like he cares about the kids when he tells karla oliver who is the district community thingie to give interviews to the school paper that without getting beer and wine in duncanville the school wont have any money. Maybe the school would have money for books, etc., if he had not built a million buildings for his burgeoning campuses. He prolly wants one of the buildings named after him. Just thinking about all the money he makes on students makes me want to barf.

    I don’t care if he makes a lot of money or not. I just don’t like him making a lot of money from me with no return on the investment.

    That is because he allowed Dallas, Desoto and cedar hill to attend duncanville. You dont see them allowing us to go there.

    … uh … So? Duncanville gets to tax the property that is in it’s district. You aren’t losing any money on them. You do know how the whole “property taxes” thing works, right?

    But that cant be changed now. It isnt the kids fault that Jerry Cook is greedy and wants the other towns tax money for himself. He should be audited. They need to fire some people and it would get better.

    Okay, so you don’t get the property tax thing. Apparently, you are just bigotted against kids in other cities. I’m glad we straightened that out.

    If you complain to the police it will go nowhere in this psycho town.

    That’s because it isn’t their job. I complain to the cop standing around the donut bin when the coffee is cold at the Exxon, too, but I don’t expect him to do anything about it.

    Anyone who talks about it is just blowing steam. Nothing will happen. It will get worse so dont say anything or they will harass you.

    Two things: use paragraphs — they are your friend — and try to stay on topic, m’kay? When you start ranting about things that have nothing to do with the discussion, it makes you look flakey.

  5. to phelps says:

    you admit you carry illegal weapons and sit up at this stupid website and you are calling someone else flaky? whatever

  6. / says:

    FYI, anyone who uses the outmoded term, “boob” has got to be a middle-aged sexist boob himself.

  7. Phelps says:

    I don’t carry illegal weapons. I carry legal weapons.

    You’re welcome, flake.

  8. carol says:

    “That’s because it isn’t their job. I complain to the cop standing around the donut bin when the coffee is cold at the Exxon, too, but I don’t expect him to do anything about it.” Pheps you are such an eloquent writer but may I add my tiniest of criticisms regarding your statement above? Mkay? Thank you. You should have written store, or convenience store, rather than Exxon, in order to create a more universal punchline.

    Pheps, please help me to sort out this paragraph of yours. “This sort of zero-thought policy has one of two effects on a student. It either makes them totally compliant and unwilling to question any rule from an authority figure, or it causes them to learn contempt for all authority figures. If they can’t be trusted to administer minor rules fairly, they cannot be trusted with any rules.” Who is they Pheps? You have used “they” out of context so I don’t know if “they” means the students or the administrators. Here, let me show you how it’s supposed to be written. “This sort of zero-thought policy has one of two effects on a student. It either makes them totally compliant and unwilling to question any rule from an authority figure, or it causes them to learn contempt for all authority figures. If the (students) can’t be trusted to administer minor rules fairly, they cannot be trusted with any rules.” Or you could write it like this Pheps, “This sort of zero-thought policy has one of two effects on a student. It either makes them totally compliant and unwilling to question any rule from an authority figure, or it causes them to learn contempt for all authority figures. If the (administrators) can’t be trusted to administer minor rules fairly, they cannot be trusted with any rules.” There ya go Pheps. We wouldn’t want you to look flakey, now would we. Of course, using, “administrators can’t be trusted to administer” might be a bit redundant so perhaps you could try this,”This sort of zero-thought policy has one of two effects on a student. It either makes them totally compliant and unwilling to question any rule from an authority figure, or it causes them to learn contempt for all authority figures. If (the administrators) can’t be trusted to (implement) minor rules fairly, they cannot be trusted with any rules.”

    I understood, from the submitted comment, that Jerry Cook was not using the money for good purpose. Perhaps, if the kids were allowed to go to other districts by changing the boundery lines in the neighboring towns, the overcrowding could be eliminated.

    But, you are the expert Pheps.

  9. Phelps says:

    “That’s because it isn’t their job. I complain to the cop standing around the donut bin when the coffee is cold at the Exxon, too, but I don’t expect him to do anything about it.” Pheps you are such an eloquent writer but may I add my tiniest of criticisms regarding your statement above? Mkay? Thank you. You should have written store, or convenience store, rather than Exxon, in order to create a more universal punchline.

    Univeral punchlines are weak. Argument is about creating concrete images and thoughts.

    I understood, from the submitted comment, that Jerry Cook was not using the money for good purpose. Perhaps, if the kids were allowed to go to other districts by changing the boundery lines in the neighboring towns, the overcrowding could be eliminated.

    I hope you could understand the comment, since it was yours, Carol/ppp/whatever. Now you are qualifying as a troll. Pick a name, or go away. Put a real email address — and the same email address — on your comments or I’m going to start deleting them out of hand.

  10. / says:

    [Summary — I’m another troll from AOL. Everyone laugh at me. My IP address is 64.12.96.203] — Phelps

  11. US says:

    [Summary — I’m still trying. I think that I can scare a guy who works in litigation with baseless threats about court orders. I’m too stupid to know that IP addresses aren’t private or hidden. I can’t tell the difference between a private regististration and an open WHOIS entry. — Phelps]