New Yorker on Zero Tolerance

The September 4 issue of The New Yorker features a brief “Talk of the Town” piece by well-known author Malcolm Gladwell (known for “Blink” and “The Tipping Point”) entitled “No Mercy.” Gladwell argues against zero-tolerance (“ZT,” as it’s known) school rules, specifically citing a case of attempted murder, explaining that ZT does nothing to deter bad behavior. He believes that schools have an obligation to look at each student individually and make the decision that best serves that child’s interests, rather than treating each matter as a worst-case scenario.

I mention this because, of course, of the recent and ongoing smoke bomb case.

1 Response to “New Yorker on Zero Tolerance”


  • We do seem to be lacking in common sense and compassion these days. In April 1999, after Columbine, we dealt calmly with the aftermath in this community; the media refrained from all publicity regarding the many bomb threats in local schools and in at least one case, a very troubled young man (this kid made the recent WAHS “bomb plot” student look normal) was given the mental health treatment he needed and successfully reincorporated into the school community. How have we got to where we are now?

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