By now, the stories of schools overreacting to words and deeds that violate their zero tolerance policies are old hat. That doesn’t decrease their entertainment value. In fact it was none other than Entertainment Weekly that broke the story of a couple receiving a letter from the administrators of their daughters’ school explaining that the image on her lunchbox violated the code prohibiting violent images on school property.
Here is the lunchbox and below it the letter the parents received:
One could almost (repeat: almost) understand the school’s position if its grievance were the attire — or more precisely lack thereof — of the Wonder Woman character. It would still come off as bizarrely puritanical, but it would least address the image as it appears, not how it might appear, which seems to be the point of the reference to “solv[ing] problems using violence.”
In the meantime, the application of policies like these is so wildly inconsistent across the nation that one school will have no qualms about expelling an eighth-grader for making a gun out of rolled-up paper while another will have no qualms about assigning grammar homework to students in the same grade that graphically describes a teacher’s brutal murder. Conservatives have long questioned the redundancy of a federal department of education. Ultimately, the nation would be better off if federal government chose not to meddle in education, but as long as it is going to, perhaps its focus should be on setting policies that will prevent schools from over- or underreacting.
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