An Inclusive Litany

2/7/02

A bill before the Virginia House of Delegates proposing to make sense of zero-tolerance drug and weapons policies by restoring discretion over their enforcement to educational officials failed in a 13-to-8 vote.

Bradley Marrs, a delegate, proposed the bill after he heard that a boy at his children's middle school was suspended after being caught with a plastic knife that his mother, a teacher herself, had packed with some cake so that he could celebrate his birthday at school.

Dwight Jones, another delegate, co-sponsored the legislation when he learned that children caught with nonprescription medication their parents had given them were "being treated as if they were carrying a gun."

An honor student from another high school was suspended for five days for fighting off an attacker. And an eighth-grader was suspended for four months because he took a knife away from a schoolmate who told him she was considering suicide.

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