As I have mentioned many times throughout these weekly posts, I hail from a state small enough to fit into St. Lawrence County—just ONE of New York State’s FIFTY-SEVEN counties—with several square miles left over.
Um, just to clarify for the record, St. Lawrence County, New York has a total landmass of 2,686 square miles while the entire state of Delaware—all THREE counties—covers a total area of 2,489 square miles, including both land and water!
Looking at any map of the United States, Delaware looks like about one-third of a replica of a certain dangling human appendage—if you get my drift—hanging from the south end of Pennsylvania’s body.
The formal name for it is the Delmarva Peninsula. And yet, though Delaware is a small part of it, we have more per capita public officials, elected and/or appointed, than virtually any other state in the country.
Yes, while we tout ourselves as a “Small Wonder,” don’t let our size mislead you; we more than compensate for it with a voracious appetite FOR, and an aggressive tolerance OF, public administrative silliness.
This “Small Wonder” is like any other state: a bureaucratic political entity; we just happen to be BLUER than many of the others.
But shirtsleeve Delawareans know, almost instinctively, that bureaucracies of all tints, the public ones in particular, are world-class achievers at raising inanity to the status of a religion.
Stupidity is a death sentence in nature, grounds for dismissal in the private sector, grounds for promotion in the public sector, and a ticket for getting elected in politics.
And what’s even more alarming is the fact that sincerity and stupidity are NOT mutually exclusive. Quoting the late Dr. Martin Luther King; “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Zero-tolerance policies—whether they’re knee-jerk executive directives or pandering attempts by politicians at mining votes—usually generate far more unintended consequences than unanticipated benefits.
I’m not going to flush out examples here because the list is too damn long. But anyone with a smartphone and the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time can do the research.
ALL zero-tolerance policies are NOT bad, but there is a huge difference between installing common sense polices aimed at keeping drugs, guns, and knives out of our schools, and those that do nothing but confirm a level of unprecedented foolishness that shirtsleeve Americans are able to define in only one way: GOD-SMACKING STUPIDITY.
But most public school zero-tolerance policies are the brainchild of myriad zero-common sense incompetents functioning at their absolute best.
They are then blindly implemented “to the letter” with alarming consistency by mindless drones, most of which are aspiring administrators who feel much safer being thought incredibly stupid rather than risk an occasional critical thought.
And without fail, public school administrators move to defend their moronic actions by claiming to have their hands tied by matters of school board POLICY.
But I don’t buy it for a second! It’s simply much easier for many of them—and therefore more acceptable—to ruin some otherwise promising kid’s school record rather than criticize a school board’s moron level, long-winded bafflegab.
I’ve read of middle school children being suspended—or actually expelled—for such policy felonies as wearing a charm bracelet containing a small charm replicating a pistol. A young boy was suspended because he bit his pop tart into the shape of—and this was highly debatable—a gun.
A fifth-grader’s grandmother sent a homemade birthday cake to school so that she and her classmates could help celebrate her birthday during lunch period. The youngster was suspended.
What was her crime? Her mom-mom included a small plastic serrated knife with which to slice the cake! Stupid does not begin to describe the witless visceral action taken by the school principal.
But by far, the best example of administrative brain-death—at least in my opinion—has been a failed attempt to suspend a 5-year-old kindergartener for—SIT DOWN—sexually harassing her 22-year-old female TEACHER!
A teacher actually accused a FIVE year-old little girl of SEXUALLY harassing her, and her principal agreed! She (the principal) then sent a letter home, WITH the child, notifying them of the suspension!
The good news is that this one ended well for the child and beyond bad for both the teacher and the principal. It DOES pay to have a pop-pop who is a very knowledgeable, though retired, FEDERAL JUDGE.
As a formal scientist, I’ve often joked that artificial intelligence is science’s way of compensating for the human race’s natural stupidity. But given the plethora of public school administrative ineptness, I’m beginning to fear that it’s NOT a joke.
Regardless, though, the title to this piece stands; we need MORE zero-tolerance policies! Only they should be aimed at NOT promoting abject stupidity to positions of administrative authority.
We also need to start summarily firing those already in place and collecting six-figure salaries to promulgate lunacy—in as publicly embarrassing ways as are legal, of course.