Caddo Mills ISD
United States of America

Benjamin is two points away from making Superintendent's honor roll. He has made Principal's honor roll every nine weeks since the year began and because of a highly flawed "zero tolerance" policy Benjamin has been remanded to 30 days in an off campus reprogramming program, where he is treated like a criminal, for defending himself from a bully... the exact same punishment the bully that assaulted Benjamin received.

From Benjamin's Parents:

"My wife and I got out of a meeting with Mr.Brewer at the Caddo Mills Middle School about an incident involving our son where another child assaulted our son and our son defended himself. Then later that day, the bully once again rushed my son in a hallway and my son put him in a head lock for a short time to stop the bully from assaulting him again , then let the bully go. As far as the boys were concerned, the matter was over.

Mr.Brewer had indicated to us that he looked into the matter thoroughly, talking to several other students, reviewing surveillance cameras etc, and plainly stated that my son was attacked and had defended himself, and he was heavily conflicted for what he was doing but "hes just doing his job".

That is correct, my son was bullied and because he defended himself he got the same punishment the bully got. Let that sink in. What does this twisted line of thinking teach our children? The school hurt my son more with this insanity than the bully did! Hes completely distraught and disenfranchised by the way the system has treated him to the point that he doesn't care about going to school anymore.

We are talking about an eleven year old boy who would volunteer to stay after school for tutoring if his grades started slipping by the tiniest bit, now completely discouraged because that's all gone now.

At the core of the issue is all the madness we hear about taking place in schools, skyrocketing depression rates among children, that was completely unheard of 20 years ago, is all because of the draconian institutionalization taking place in these schools!

When asked how my child should respond when being assaulted by another student, this Mr.Brewer had the nerve to suggest he just take it and go tell a teacher... Self Defense is a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT!!

All these anti-bullying campaigns do is serve to engender a victim mentality into our children and made the schools administration the ultimate bully and this has to stop!"

Experience is showing that Zero Tolerance is not only misapplied in the modern education system but that it is also detrimental to the learning. Further it is arguable that the school is violating a victim's fundamental rights (as upheld in Tinker v. Des Moines) when disciplining a child for self defense against an attack on their person.

Take into account papers like:
"Bullying the bully: Why zero-tolerance policies get a failing grade" Borgwald and Theixos (2012)

"A System Gone Berserk: How Are Zero-Tolerance Policies Really Affecting Schools?" Martinez (2010)

"Opportunities Suspended: The Devastating Consequences of Zero Tolerance and School Discipline Policies" The Civil Rights Project, Advancement Project (2000)

Further adding insult to injury is the "Alternative Education Program" that these children are subjected to where they are required to submit themselves to a search of their person and effects before entering the building, effectively being treated as if they have been convicted of a crime. Imagine the mental toll this takes on an honor roll student whose only mistake was to defend himself from harm.

We demand that:

1. Caddo Mills Middle School release BOTH boys from this insane program where they are treated like common criminals IMMEDIATELY!

2. Take steps to eliminate this harmful program and take more accountability as educators to provide a safe environment for our children to learn in.

3. The Legislature of Texas passes legislation to restrict these kinds of nonsensical programs, requiring schools to instead consider our children's fundamental human rights and use common sense when developing corrective programs.

The Justice for Benjamin: End the Needless Tyranny of Zero Tolerance petition to Caddo Mills ISD was written by Lancaster Citizen's Council and is in the category Education at GoPetition.