03/14/08 — Skittles caper: Priorities are off often when some come up with the rules

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Skittles caper: Priorities are off often when some come up with the rules

There is nothing wrong with setting rules.

Children need them and schools have to have them to function.

But there is also such a thing as common sense.

And that seems to be something that is continuing to be in short supply — especially when it comes to rules and schools.

A recent news story on CNN told of the plight of a young man who was suspended for buying the candy Skittles at school.

According to the story, the eighth-grade honor student violated a rule prohibiting candy at school.

Next thing his parents knew, he was a “felon.”

OK, not literally, but he did get suspended from school.

The bottom line, the school said, is that this young man broke the rules and they are there for a reason.

And officials are right, students do need to follow all the rules — not just the ones they like.

But does anyone else see this as just one more example of how we jump on the minuscule and can’t get a grip on the real problems facing our schools?

There are probably a couple of principals in this region who would love to have a Skittles insurrection instead of the destructive behaviors they have to deal with.

The point is that even students know when a rule simply just doesn’t make sense or when the reaction to a transgression is so disproportionate it is ludicrous.

Let the Skittles ride. Let’s see if, instead, we can concentrate on increasing test scores and lowering the drop-out rates. And if we could quell some of the violence and delinquency that are stopping education in its tracks, that would be a plus, too.

After we accomplish all that, we can tackle candy in schools.

Published in Editorials on March 14, 2008 11:30 AM