They were, after all, going to head out hunting after school.
It was also not uncommon to see children pointing toy guns at each other on the playground.
Now it means serious business if an antique gun from a recent Civil War re-enactment is found in a student’s car trunk or a gun look-alike in a kindergartner’s backpack.
We often hear news reports on unreasonable expulsions or suspensions for minor infractions. Oftentimes, the children in these cases had no intention of ever using a weapon on a fellow student or staff member. They’ve sometimes been straight-A students with no disciplinary record who simply forgot something had been stashed in their car, jacket or backpack.
Some schools with no-tolerance policies had little choice but to enact the harsh punishment their policies required. It was black and white.
But there are always shades of gray. Life is full of them.
The State Board of Education recently asked that school districts in Michigan consider those shades of gray and ease up on their zero-tolerance policies. It seems some local policies were entirely too strict and didn’t allow for other factors to be considered.
Such zero-tolerance policies likely make it easier on administrators, as there’s little to discuss or consider. But the policies leave much to be desired.
There is no one-size-fits-all policy. What’s good for inner-city schools in Detroit could very well be terrible for schools in the Tri-Cities area, and vice versa.
In this area, however, school administrators should be given the latitude to consider the child and the details of the situation at hand, and collaborate with highly trained school counselors and teachers to determine the best solution.
And parents need to be a part of the process. Parents are ultimately responsible for the actions of their children and should be active participants in the disciplinary process.
In the end, we all want the same thing — for our children to be safe at school, and for them to be treated fairly and with respect should disciplinary situations arise.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Kevin Collier and Liz Stuck. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.