Over the past few years, we have reported on numerous, outrageous cases of "zero-tolerance" enforcement defying logic and rational thought. There seems to be no shortage of this kind of miscarriage of not only justice, but of common sense. So here we go again: This week's "Outrage" comes to us from Des Moines, Iowa, where a school recently suspended an 11-year-old girl for bringing a handful of empty shotgun shells to school.
During a family trip to a ranch in South Dakota, the blank rounds were fired as part of a show, and the sixth-grade student gathered the harmless, empty shells as souvenirs. Once again, these were harmless, empty shell casings from fired, blank rounds!
"I didn't think they were going to hurt anyone," the girl correctly said. "I wanted to show them to my science teacher because he's into stuff like this."
The girl didn't have a chance to show her souvenirs to her teacher, but she showed them to some friends, and was subsequently suspended.
Randy Gordon, the school's principal, said the harmless shells were considered ammunition even though they were empty, and were therefore against school policy. The school's policy specifically bans "live ammunition or bullets" but does not address blanks, or empty shells or casings.
The girl's mother must now fight to have the offense removed from her daughter's record.
Classifying an empty shell from a blank as "ammunition" and punishing a young girl for possessing a harmless souvenir. By any standard, that's outrageous.