Even so, these are mostly sound essays illuminating how the media’s coverage of juvenile crime has led to blanket policies...

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ZERO TOLERANCE

RESISTING THE DRIVE FOR PUNISHMENT IN OUR SCHOOLS

An analysis of the “zero tolerance” policies often implemented in today’s schools, and the ways these policies have disproportionately affected black and Latino students.

“Zero tolerance” initially meant that any student bringing a gun to school would be expelled for up to two years. In many schools, however, the policy has come to cover not only realistic replicas of firearms and knives, but objects that, by virtue of their shape or design, could cause any physical harm, or even give the appearance of being able to do so. It is this nebulous wording that has the editors worried. William Ayers (A Kind and Just Parent, 1997), Dohrn (director, Children and Family Justice Center/Northwestern Univ.), and Berkeley High School teacher Rick Ayers argue that the rates of school punishment for black students exceed rates for white students. Clear examples in support of their theory are periodically given: A white student in Vermont was neither suspended nor expelled for bringing a loaded shotgun to school, while an African-American student in Rhode Island was suspended for offering to dislodge a computer disk with a penknife. At other times, the authors’ rhetoric misses the mark: When six African-American students expelled for fighting try to return to their campus illegally, the situation is likened to “the 1957 placement of National Guard troops at Central High School in Little Rock.” One wishes the editors had declared zero tolerance for purple prose: “Tears moistened the principal’s eyes as she watched the axe fall on twelve-year-old Arturo, a student she had known since she first became the principal of the elementary school on Chicago’s South Side.”

Even so, these are mostly sound essays illuminating how the media’s coverage of juvenile crime has led to blanket policies that can make little sense.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56584-666-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

COLUMBINE

Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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