Zero Tolerance

Perhaps one of the worst things that has arisen from the plethora of school shootings and crimes in recent years is the “Zero Tolerance” policies that schools have now adopted. Now children can be suspended or even expelled for doing things that 20 years ago (when I was in gradeschool) would have received a missed recess or less. Like an overprotective parent, schools are going to succeed in teaching children that they cannot take care of themselves, that they are exercising “criminal” behavior by inadvertantly bringing a plastic knife to school to cut the meat for their sandwich. At the school here in Warsaw, children during lunch time have to talk quietly and cannot sit where they want. Is this not ridiculous? As I recall, the lunchroom was the loudest and funnest place to be during the school day. I just don’t think this bodes well for the future. If everything is a crime, then…you guessed it. Kyrie eleison. My heart goes out to parents whose children were brutally murdered at their school or college, but with all due respect–they are they last people that should be sitting on school boards. They are way too emotionally charged to think rationally about what decisions they are making for the schools. The bottom line is this: these things are going to happen as long as the devil and sin are in the world, and especially when there is a lack of discipline and good parenting in the home. Better security and Zero Tolerance policies will only confound the problem.


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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7 Responses to Zero Tolerance

  1. Father Hollywood says:

    Preach it! Zero tolerance is just another way to put the brain in neutral and avoid using common sense. It makes people feel like We Are Doing Something though.

  2. Leistico says:

    zero tolerance only goes so far… just try promoting an abstinence only approach to Family Life class (which everybody at my High School knew was just another name for Sex Ed)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Liberal fascism!

    The Dali Lutheran

  4. Anonymous says:

    You probably know this, but “funnest” is not a word.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “zero tolerance” has another meaning for people like my wife and I who are survivors of an event called Columbine. I find your commentary frightfully uninformed. Zero tolerance is an artifact of a culture that is no longer safe. It’s not a cause, but the effect of unchecked sin played out in families and communities too busy to raise their kids according to any objective moral standard such as the 10 commandments. I stumbled across this blog because usually confessional Lutherans have some wonderful things to say. I’m sorry to say that I am offended by this one.

  6. Pastor Beisel says:

    I am offended by Zero Tolerance policies because they end up making all behavior equal, without taking into account individual circumstances. I’ve heard story after story of elementary children being suspended, or even taken into custody at the Police Station because they drew a picture of a gun, or something even less harmful. This doesn’t help our society. It only breeds more fear.

    But this is the way things work. I just heard today that a girl died because her intestines were sucked out by a wading pool drain. So, what do the parents do? They lobby Congress to pass legislation that now bans the distribution and selling of any pools that do not meet up to the safety standards set down by the federal government. Why does legislation have to be passed about this? Why not just tell your children, “Son, don’t sit on the drain.”

    I am sorry that you had to endure such a frightful experience. I would not wish this on anyone. I respect your comment, but I still think that Zero Tolerance policies are not the way to go. Let’s make a distinction between real criminals and those who are innocent of wrong doing.

  7. Anonymous says:


    If the post from “Columbine survivor” is true than it proves your point.

    Those involved in tragedy should not sit on boards that have any connection to the tragedy.

    You can see they immediately claim all intellectual and moral authority because “it happened to them.”

    Note that you are “frightfully uninformed” and that the columbine survivor is “offended” because you have a point of view different than the survivor.

    You have an unbiased view that plastic knives and pictures of guns do not kill. And that offends and is “frightfully uninformed?”

    My heresy is this: Just think how many more people would be saved if more people were armed with sidearms. Gun-free zones don’t save lives.

    The Dali Lutheran

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