Want to be marked for life? Be a student in DeLynn Woodside’s math class at Roosevelt Middle High in Oklahoma City, where last month a 13-year-old boy fell prey to another exercise of unenlightened zero-tolerance-for-common-sense policies.
The child’s high crime was using a magic marker in school, a no-no in light of the school’s graffiti problem. The police report documents his “possession of a permanent marker on private property,” which is illegal. According to Ms. Woodside, the boy was “writing on a piece of paper, which caused it to bleed over onto the desk.” When she asked for the marker, he tried to hide it.
A problem? Perhaps. But if so, a minor one. She could have dealt with it by explaining that markers are not allowed in school and by asking him to put the marker away and not bring it back to school. Instead, at the teacher’s behest the child was arrested and taken to a certain Community Intervention Center, a holding facility for juvenile offenders. A sergeant “booked the marker into the property room.”
Stories like these seem like real knee-slappers until you realize the outsized inanity displayed is probably not so funny for the kids being dragged downtown and booked.
Legislators, teachers, police — nobody who enables, sanctions or participates in such episodes — deserve any laurels. Treating kids as criminals for the most trivial violations of the rules, even rules that make sense, is itself criminal.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.