When Did Common Sense End in School Discipline and Safety?

Posted by on March 23, 2011

Training students not to open exterior school doors to let someone inside is a best practice.

Suspending a student who violated the rule to help a woman with her hands full is not a best practice.

A Southampton County, Virginia, middle school student was suspended from school after opening a door for a woman with her hands full, according to a WTKR news report

In an effort to tighten security, students were reportedly told not to open the door for anyone.  This is something we encourage school administrators and staff to reinforce to students from elementary to high school levels.

But in the Virginia case, it appears a well-intended student opened a door for a lady with her hands full.  Does this violate school rules? Absolutely.

But does the punishment meet the crime?

Perhaps there is more to this story than meets the public eye, but common sense seems to dictate that given the facts as presented, a principal’s personal lecture about the purpose of the rule and a stern warning to the student would suffice.

While I believe “zero tolerance” is a political buzz phrase that is more rhetoric than reality, incidents like the one in this story leave many people (including me) scratching my head.

Unfortunately, common sense is not always common.  And apparently neither is training for school administrators on some practical, reasonable methods for enforcing school safety and discipline best practices.

Ken Trump

Visit School Security Blog at:  http://www.schoolsecurityblog.com

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