Today on CNN Newsroom

The latest news and information from around the world. Also connect with CNN through social media. We want to hear from you.
April 16th, 2010
07:40 AM ET

Honor student could be banned from graduation ceremonies

An honor student at a high school in Wisconsin overslept one time this semester and it could keep her from walking across the stage during graduation ceremonies this May. That’s because of Wausaukee High School’s zero tolerance policy that says "Seniors must have no unexcused absences during the second semester of their senior year or they will not be allowed to participate in the commencement exercise."

QUESTION: We want to know what you think. What are some of your “Zero Tolerance” stories?


Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. dave

    Um... why? What does does this have to do with anything? Why should there even be a rule like this of ONE absence? Yet another example of school administrators making themselves feel like big at the expense of children they are paid to teach.

    April 16, 2010 at 7:43 am |
  2. Russell Brown

    Zero tolerance rules in any walk of life are almost always a joke.

    April 16, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  3. Daniel

    That is totally unreasonable policy as it's not allowing even slightest hint of understanding for the situations where student have surely set the clock to wake her but for some reason haven't woken to sound of it. There should be mercy, even if the requirements of studying are high.

    April 16, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  4. Carl

    Ban the administrator from their job if they are so stupid as to make a judgement call to ban an Honor student from attending their ceremony for something so ridiculous as a minor infraction.

    April 16, 2010 at 8:08 am |
  5. Steve Flanigan

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Oversleeping is as good of an excuse as any as long as it doesn’t become a habit. This poor young lady is being treated unfairly.

    I worked for a company who would punish their employees for attendance even if the employee was removed from the workplace via an ambulance. I had two co-workers taken by ambulance, one for chest pains and the other had a mild stroke. They were punished for missing part of the day at work.

    April 16, 2010 at 8:08 am |
  6. Michele

    I think that it is crazy!!!!! BUT...having been on the "recieving end" of the almighty public school sadly doesnt sursrpise me. My son experienced a similar "zero tolerance consequence" because he did not allow a student who had been drinking to drive himself. He was just as guilty as the one was drunk. It cost him a football scholarship to colllege, every athletic and academic achievement he earned, and made him the perfect "example" to the rest of the student population. My son was/is also an honor student, taking many honors courses in his curriculum. He was a top athlete and did in fact win the honor of top athlete in the school population of athletes( but the title was stripped from him and given to the second place athlete). Anymore.....parents have become nothing more than after hours day care for the public schools students instead of them being educators for OUR children. It became so bad with the school making him the "example" that teachers in the Jr High were talking about what not to do using my son as an example. I know this because my sons nephew had to listen to a teacher talk badly about his Uncle and when he stood up for his uncle, he was also reprimanded for insubordination, and received detentions. It became so bad that he is now in his second semester of his Senior year and after first semesters treatment, he came home and begged to Homeschool the remainder of his Senior year. As a parent, I am now denied the pleasure of seeing him walk down the stairs and accept his diploma, taking pictures, and everything associated with the graduation process. We could experience all of that if we wanted to drive to Pennsylvania to participate in the formal ceremony......but it is a long drive from Illinois to feasibly attend. So, we will gladly accept his HS diploma in the mail after the formal ceremony, and look toward his college years and putting this public school dictatorship behind us. Our younger son attends a private school and no matter what I have to give up or sacrifice to keep him there, I will. I would never put another child through the abuse of a public school and the dictatorial policies and blatant abuse of power they wield as if it is nothing.

    April 16, 2010 at 8:23 am |
  7. Michael C(NY)

    You have got to be kidding.....this is why most "zero tolerance" policies don't work. I hope the school staff has the same requirements, maybe the y lose a days pay for over sleeping? We have one school district jamming up an honor student for an honest mistake, then we have another one that wants to bury its head in the sand because they did NOTHING to stop the bullying of a girl that then decided it would be better to die than deal with the incompetent school administration that didn't help her. PATHETIC!

    April 16, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  8. Joanne Richemond

    What in the world? That is the most ludicrous policy I have ever heard. This admistrator should be fired. Her absence shoulod be excused and the school should move to more important things.

    April 16, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  9. Elizabeth

    Many schools are taking up this zero tolerance policy. My daughter's elementary school if you are late it's an absence if you leave early or arrive late do to a scheduled medical or dental appointment then it is an absence. I think many schools are taking far extremes especially in areas if you have 10 'absences' social services can be called on the family.

    April 16, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  10. chris

    Ok last check things stuff make sense.. they won't have no torlence on bulling... but when someone makes a mistake? are we all humans?

    we all make mistakes. that be like a job firing me over helping someone who might be in need.

    sorry but this school needs to punish people who fail to show up not hurt someone. who trying her hardest

    April 16, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  11. Naheel

    What message are we sending our children? In this case honesty is NOT the best policy. Very sad!

    April 16, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  12. onize

    What then is the point of working so hard if, once you step out of line, you are chucked out into the proverbial bin along with the serial slackers? Over-bearing comes to mind in regards to these administrators!

    April 16, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  13. Jack

    Zero tolerance can be unfair and it has showed in this particular situation. Its a good thing the school has a firm stance on slackers but as an honors student, it was honorable of her that she just said the truth. I believe the truth shall always set you free and I hope CNN can help her graduate. She deserves to.

    April 16, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  14. Michael M

    Zero tolerance is just a way for administrations to make their jobs easier. They don't want to handle issues like this on a case by case basis so they punish everyone.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  15. Matthew Pease

    You have GOT to be kidding me. Where is the zero tolerance for stupid school policies? To the school officials: I hope someone is RIGHT THERE when you make your next mistake, ready to tell you how lousy you are for being imperfect. Way to go. Your community must be so proud.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  16. William K Clements

    It seems to me that "common sense" has been replaced with zero tolerance which leaves little room for looking beyond the infraction which occurred. Now with zero tolerance adults don't have to be responsible for their own decision making. One rule for one, one rule for all. Thank you.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  17. Stephanie Liaci

    Hey guys, how's this? My husband and I had a fight that got out of hand (he punched a wall). We're both very young and have had rough lives, but now live in the suburbs and are working towards our careers. A neighbor called the cops for noise, and when my husband went out on the lawn, figuring he'd be told to take a walk, the Sgt. came on our lawn and put his arm around my husband's neck. My husband, nervous and uncomfortable, stepped to the side and held his hands up. At that moment, my husband was maced in his mouth and eyes, beaten, and this sgt. kneeled on his chest to continue spraying mace in his mouth. My husband is asthmatic. He was charged with "resisting" arrest and "assaulting" the officer (because one cop shot the other with kidding). The outcome? He has to be on probation, and the 47 year old Sgt (who later hit on me) is free to marry his 20 year old fiance. Sick, huh? Only in New Jersey.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  18. predrag cucilovic

    both my teenage boys are attending public school which is traditional in regard of required haircuts, belts, shirts tucked in and uniforms. however, school does not and should not have a zero tolerance policy like the one in the story. it is just too much. rules and policies are essential but too much rules is contra-productive and often times unattainable.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  19. Ted

    Zero Tolerance

    When I was in junior colllege I worked the 11:00 pm to 7:00 am shift. After work while on my way home my car broke down. I walked 10 miles home so I could change clothes to go to school and take my mid term exam. I walked because I did not have enough money to ride the bus.

    I got to class late and sat down to take my exam. While taking my exam the instructor came to my desk, took my exam from me and told me I was no longer in the class because I had been late to class three times. He had a zero policy rule. If you are late to class three times you will be put out of the class.


    April 16, 2010 at 9:06 am |

    Zero means Zero

    April 16, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  21. hawa

    They cannot expect perfection, as they themselves aren't perfect and such thing does not exist. If God were to have zero tolerance for our sins, we would all be in a very bummed up state, so let them reduce the expectations of that and similar rulings. What if someone was at the hospital? How big is the zero then?

    April 16, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  22. Amelia

    It is unfortunate for the girl, but rules are rules. If we expect the administration to make an exception in this girl's case, then what is to prevent other students who incur unexcused absences from demanding exceptions. To be fair the rule must apply equally to all.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  23. claire

    I went to a performing arts highschool that was ridiculously demanding. Our schoolwork load alone was at times overwhelming, so add to that constant rehersals for our performances, oftern requiring us to come to school at 7 am or stay until 9 pm and on Saturdays. I also worked 3-4 days a week at a store but was able to maintain an A average. Most of the students at my school were over-achievers and put a lot of pressure on themselves to stay on top of everything.
    My first few years were great, our teachers worked with us to make sure we got our assignments done and were creative about our scheduling often keeping their classrooms open over lunch to help us catch up. In my last two years we got a new principal who started a zero tolerance late rule. If you were late for any class, even if you had a note from a teacher explaining your tardiness you got detention but you could miss an entire class and not get in trouble.
    The difficulty was that A plus students who were trying to do it all – got that much more pressure. The slackers didn't care – if they were late they'd just stay home or go to the mall. It punishes the kids who want to be in class even if they are two minutes late and want to learn.
    I was confronted about my habitual absenteeism in my Calculus mornign class by this principal – I simply told him that between school, rehersals and work, I usually only sleep 4-5 hours a night and I live an hour and a half away from school. If I'm a minute late for class, i can't afford to be in detention because I'll miss work, So it's better to skip and learn the material on my own.

    -Is this what school is supposed to be?

    April 16, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  24. Rebecca

    My daughter was the victim of a teacher's zero tolerance policy during her Junior year in high school....She was out of school for four days, in the hospital with two IV's in her arms due to a dangerous situation with her Type I Diabetes. Because of the situation, she lost her ability to form short term memories...difficult for an honor student in high school. When she returned to school, her Spanish III teacher would not allow her to make up any of the exams or quizzes that had been administered while she was away, although school policy and her 504 (disability) Plan made accessions that she should be able to make up all of the work she missed. We worked very hard with her on memory tricks to help her succeed during the rest of the course, but in the end the zeros on the gradebook became a frustrating hold on succeeding in the course.

    It is interesting that sometimes the students who work very hard to manage difficult situations and come out on top, are penalized.

    The good news is that she is now taking college courses at night during her senior year in high school and maintaining semester GPAs well above 4.0 because of the college-weighted courses! We are very proud of her determination to succeed!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  25. Jim

    Similar situation and example of stupidity: As a young student I attempted to be awarded for perfect attendance. My road flooded in the spring almost at the end of the school year. The bus couldn't reach me and there was no way to get to school. Approaching the Principal, I was told there was a zero tolerance and my absence was not to be excused. One day missed in a flood and my perfect attendance was not to be awarded!
    A good way to see the adult world for what it is at a young age.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  26. Sandy Cohen

    This is absurd – this student is an honor student, not a reality t.v. show slacker! ZERO TOLERANCE SHOULD BE APPLIED but there has to be a little wiggle room in there c'mon now we are all human the kid was probably exhausted from school work!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  27. Susan

    Zero tolerance is a easy way to not think and use common sense.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  28. Scott Gelband

    I think the entire class should have a one-day sleep-in so that nobody walks. That will speed up the graduation ceremony.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  29. Cheryl W

    Perhaps the Wausaukee High School should implement a zero tolerance policy for "chimps with checklists" and replace their current administrators with professionals who can actually utilize some reasoning.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  30. John

    Which Word do you not understand ...:ZERO.....or Tolerance

    April 16, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  31. Rene

    IN almost every situation I've seen from education to law enforcement, Zero tolerance usually means Zero careful assessment of the circumstances leading to the issue at hand. Simply taking the thinking out of key decisions is not the answer.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  32. Homeless D in Atlanta

    No, in this case, the policy is NOT fair.

    But let me give the student a head's up. LIFE is not fair. And this is the way we tend to handle things in our country. In the work place, for example, if ONE employee constantly ignores some rule, pretty soon EVERY employee will be punished.

    For some reason we have become so wimpy when it comes to punishing a person who disregards the rules, and instead prefer to act like punishing everyone is the "fair" thing to do.

    It is not. And I think the school district in this case is wrong. But this honor student is smart enough to take this action on the part of her school as an omen of things to come.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  33. Murphy

    I believe this is an example of what is wrong with the school system in America. Instead of encouraging execellent students they decide to bash them for oversleeping?...

    April 16, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  34. kathleen M

    Zero Tolerance rules are for things like guns and drugs – not for sleeping in and missing one day at school. Get Real!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  35. mike sey

    Zero tolerance is another word for intolerance. It is also inhuman and substitutes a policy for judgement and absolves administrators from the responsibility (for which they are paid) to make reasoned and informed decisions.

    As to stories, they are legion like the Grade one student who was escorted home by police because his mom packed a butter knife with is lunch.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  36. Amy Roma

    I have tremendous respect for public schools having hundreds of kids to keep safe on a daily basis. I can't imagine that responsibility.

    That being said, I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance. This tops our list of reasons for homeschooling. I do not believe life is black or white. There is ALWAYS a gray area. This child deserves to graduate with everyone else because they have proven themself to be a good student. I am just glad I won't have to deal with this rediculousness with my own kids.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  37. kathleen M

    I have Zero Tolerance for unreasonable rules and the people who make them – Get rid of the school board!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  38. Pam Harless

    HMMM... I do believe the zero tolerance has went too far in this case. As a mother of four teenagers I would be very disturbed that my honor student was being put in the same catagory as those whom were not able to walk due to poor grades or behavioral problems. What are the adults here teaching this young lady? Has the school board members ever been late for a board meeting?

    April 16, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  39. alden

    This policy is completely unfair to an honor student. Clearly the policy should have exceptions for smart kids.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  40. tom

    I understand the need to cut out "senior skip day" or take graduation seriously to combat senioritis. It seems like a family member or the student should be able to excuse that absence as "out sick. "

    April 16, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  41. Matt Ackah Jr

    Zero tolerance is self explanatory: It means just that, otherwise it won't be a zero tolerance policy! On the other side, the policy can be amended to decide graduating seniors' FATE on a case by case.

    Matt Ackah Jr

    April 16, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  42. Marcus

    I think that zero tolerance has been misapplied to mistakes when it needs to stay with conscious decisions. Administrations need to take into account that everyone will make a mistake and that deliberate disrespect to the rules may be a legitimate reason for punishment, but an accident is no reason to take away a right of passage from the American high school student.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  43. Todd Toles

    This is but another example of how zero-tolerance policies are a complete failure. I wonder how many school officials would still have their jobs if we held them to a zero-tolerance policy for national rankings & test scores?

    Public schools need to be totatally redesigned and moved away from a daycare, behavior control facility back to an education facility.

    Don't worry kid, walking the aisle is VERY overated. Take your good grades, get a college degree and become your principal's boss and fire them!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  44. sam

    having served on school board, i find this rule appauling. if the stident
    finished the academic requirements for graduation she should walk. this is one of the most important days in a student life. it behooves the board to concentrate on the drop out students instead of punishing excellence. just plain stupid

    April 16, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  45. Mike

    Someone should counsel this young woman, and explain just how vapid, sophomoric, and utterly meaningless high school really is in the larger scheme of a person's life. We simply add the name 'Wausaukee' to the endless list of backwater and backwards towns that are good places to be *from*. Many of us hail from even worse places and times, where far more absurd injustices were routine. In 10 years, their childish tantrums may even seem charmingly quaint when you visit, and you'll certainly get a good laugh in any case. Don't hate the hillbillys, but don't try to reform them either, just leave them behind...

    April 16, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  46. Lynn Ferguson


    Since the honor student that over slept went to school that day, she was not absent, she was only tardy, therefore there is no reason to keep her from walking at graduation with her class. Someone should point this out to her principal and school.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  47. Norbert Leute

    We need to ask the question: Where has common sense gone to? It seems to me the community needs to ask the people who came up with the policy and those who enforce the policy to take a long walk and not come back. We punish the good students and award the bad students because it may hurt their feeling. We lost the sense to tell right from wrong and how to use just plain common sense. This student should hold her own graduation in front od her friends and family. Its ot where you walk the stage its that you walk the stage. Congrats for being the top your class.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  48. Mati

    I'm creating on my laptop for a Publishing House, with the TV on and when I first heard this news, I couldn't agree more with the person relating the story; the student seems to be doing the incorrect thing by precluding this honor student from graduating. The TV stayed on and I got the first glimpse of the honor student. My first reaction was: “Oh, it's a Latin boy, maybe some discrimination”! Now, I see her name is Sam and she is a girl. I’m not the most paranoid person, but it could be investigated if the school is trying to use the excuse of the unexcused absence, to prevent Sam and other students who might appear gay. Could this be part of whole picture? Please, Sam, no offense intended here. I’m as amazed as you are about the school policy’s existence and harsh implementation. Yes, this is a case where students ought to be treated differently. Meaning, how could you not graduate an honor student with a good record from graduating. She did not kill the Principal. The punishment does not seem to fit the crime. – There would be chaos to make rules that will only apply to some and be changed accordingly. How about respect the school’s policy -which might need to be revisited-, but implement a different kind of punishment: do X hours of community service, or helping at the school cafeteria, or assisting the coach of “rowing class” (for which you would need to get up super early. Just offering thoughts. Bye bye.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  49. Dan

    My question would be for the idiots that made this pathetic ruling would be:
    Since they made this ruling, how many "unexcused absences" have each of them had?
    If they honestly can't say 0, then they should allow this student to graduate.
    Oh, by the way, if any of the idiots that made this ruling are school employees, that district (thru tax dollars) paid for that "unexcused absence".

    April 16, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  50. Sharman, North Carolina

    The school administration is bullying this girl with their zero tolerance policy. What is it these so-called "educators" don't understand? I applaud her honesty and courage.

    One day, the celebration of ignorance will be over. It is up to all of us to bring this madness to an end.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  51. Dave

    Educaters are supposed to display some wisdom, this goes too show you that stupidity has NO bounds!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  52. ChrisFromOhio

    If those teachers/administrators had the same "Zero Tolerence" policy as they put these kids through, maybe some of them wouldn't be in the plaxce they're in..I'm sure teachers/admins skipped school, woke up late, etc..INSANITY!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  53. John

    This is stupid zero tolerance has gone too far.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  54. John

    Well I overslept and just got off with detention. But no they banned this student from Graduation ceremonies this is just stupid.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  55. KCV

    Great suggestion Scott...the entire Senior class should "sleep-in" and have their own private graduation...the school administrators not invited!

    April 16, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  56. Ellen Wiesen


    I am distressed at hearing about this. The fact that this young woman is an honor student and chose to tell the truth, tells us much about her character and integrety. It does not deserve this type of punishment which, in its own way is not only unjust and unfair, but could border on emotional abuse.
    What kind of message is this sending?

    Could you give us the e-mail address to the Wisconsin State Superintendant of Education as well as her city's Board of Education and School District superintendent. People from around the country need to be able to express their dismay and outrage and ,perhaps help this young woman.

    Thank you so much.

    Ellen Wiesen

    April 16, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  57. Dan

    I think this rule should stand IF, and only IF this school board would amend the ruling to state that the "First time a school employee, whether it be a principal, teacher, janitor, cafeteria worker, etc is late due to an "unexcused absence" their employment is terminated.
    I think this is an excellent idea.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  58. Mati

    As I’m doing my creating work for products to be delivered for summer reading with the TV on, the news caught my attention, that I confused the preclusion of walking with the actual graduating. Still bad, and a school policy that should be revisited. It would be hard to treat different students, differently, under the same school existing policy. Why not contemplate “different punishment”? Zero policy is still in place, can’t make a mockery of the school, Sam broke it, then she’ll face consequences, such as: do X hours of community service, or helping at the school cafeteria, or assisting the “Rowing Class” coach (for which you would need to get up super early). Just offering thoughts.
    I also would like to share that it wasn’t until I have heard the news that they showed the student’s picture, and as busy as I am, only got a glimpse of the student and my first thought was: : “Oh, it's a Latin boy, maybe some discrimination”! Now, I see her name is Sam and she is a girl. I’m not the most paranoid person, but it could be investigated if the school is trying to use the excuse of the unexcused absence, to prevent Sam and other students who might appear gay from walking upon graduation. Could this be part of whole picture? Please, Sam, no offense intended here. I’m as amazed as you are about the school’s policy’s existence and harsh implementation. Maybe supporters could ask for a different “punishment” and school might consider revisiting its policy as well. The punishment does not seem to fit the crime. – There would be chaos if we promote that some rules should only apply sometimes to some people and not others. Change the punishment.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  59. Khattt

    I wonder if Sam in openly gay, or she may just be a tomboy?
    If she is, could this possibly be an attempt to keep an openly gay student from walking across the stage? Regardless of why, this is just plain wrong. Zero tolerance needs to be applied to the teachers and school adminstration, I bet they would be picketing and striking as we speak!
    Every case is different, it would be easy if life was black and white, but it's usually mostly gray!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  60. NY Ron

    This sounds personal.

    Some people working in the education system should not be permitted within a 20-mile radius of kids!

    Maybe it's time for a house-cleaning at the school board and the principal's office.

    I hope the parents have a good lawyer and sue the pants off the school.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  61. Judy

    What has happened to common sense? Are we totally bereft?

    April 16, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  62. 1gadawg

    I'm 55 and there was zero tolerance even in my day, the only difference being, that it was my parents who had zero tolerance for bad behavior or poor school work!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  63. Lily Sparkletoon

    Un real this is going too far. This will be a perm part of her record now they going to ruin all the hard work she had with the college level courses. I think she needs a lawyer and sue the school

    April 16, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  64. RuthMonsell

    Barring Sam from graduation exercises at Wausaukee High School is yet another example of the asinine things public schools do these days, and ranks right up there with expelling a second grader who hugs another child on the playground. If I lived closer to Wisconsin I'd picket the school board. I speak as an 18 year veteran educator. One school I taught at insisted that I lie and say I was ill when I needed one day off to sing at Carnegie Hall, rather than making it a learning opportunity for the students and source of pride. I quit soon afterward.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  65. Shirley Tripp

    I think that the school is being incredibly unfair to not take into account the reasons for the tardiness. I believe, especially if this young man has shown a commendable record in the past , that THAT fact should be taken into account when trying to enforce the school rules to the letter.
    This action on the part of the school will only encourage dishonesty and discouragement to the students and make them question as to whether their school is working for the students betterment.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  66. Nancy Bain

    Punish a person for telling the truth? It is no wonder that children lie.... they learn from adults that telling the truth is NOT always the way to go. I say this young man should be commended for telling the truth. There is no rule that cannot be broken for a good reason.
    And if the school still refuses to let him walk with his graduating class...... class mates......... why don't you all refuse to walk and just stand up and then sit down for the sake of HONESTY.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  67. Elassia

    I can understand the rules, but sometimes the schools go too far. My son is in high school and before he walks in he removes his hat and puts it in his backpack, he does not wear it in school. About a month or 2 back he did just that and a teacher saw him do so, well they wanted the hat. And n camera it showed him putting it in his backpack-so he refused because he was not wearing it in school- he received six(6) days off OSS (out of school suspension) because he would not give them the hat. Now, when the tape was reviewed I was called and told they were sorry for what happen, but he lost those 6 days and they are still on his record. Now, the rules say you can not wear hats in side the school-but you could carry a hat has long as you do not put it on your head. The problem I have is this, the rules are there for both students and teachers a like, but the teachers pretty much do what they want and the do not apply to them. Now how in the world do they expect the students do follow rules when the adults can't even do it?

    April 16, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  68. Barbara Davis

    I taught for 31 years ,education and common sense have no relationship. Since I was in alternative education the results of zero tolerance generally landed in my lap. This meant kids who had too many tardies were seated next to drug dealers and gang bangers or the kid who brought the switchblade in.. Zero tolerance means taking judgment calls away from the people who actually know the kids and know what really is happening. It;s all horse hocky!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:13 am |

    When I started my 8th grade year we got a new instructor (for language arts i believe). He was worried that the kids were touching each-other too much! He proposed a plan to keep us all from touching. When the plan went into effect it made a lot of kids including myself very angry. We weren't allowed to give; hugs, hand shake, high fives, or low fives. If you were caught touching another kid then you would be punished... DUMB!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  70. Judy

    zero tolerance in the workplace story: My husband was in the hospital -he had just had lung surgery . It was a fairly serious surgery . His Supervisor came to his hospital room and handed him a letter of reprimand for abusing sick time. How stressful, huh? Here he was a few hours out of surgery and he got written up for abusing sick time. He worked for Federal Express . Now he is dead and working there was not good for his health.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  71. Diane

    I would have to wonder if the people who set the zero tolerance policies hold themselves to the same level of expected behavior. I believe that the school is being unfair to the boy who they are holding back based on one incident. Instead of expecting children to behave perfectly – we should expect the schools to behave better! Be responsible for monitoring bullying type behavior and realize that each child may have a unique situation. I remember one high school assembly where the guidance counselor at my school congratulated the honors students and also each and every student in the class – some had experienced severe illness, others parents had divorced or even died.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  72. Guy Bello

    The real problem is that the administration and teachers that made this poor decision are the same ones using that judgment to teach our children. Disturbing.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  73. Mischa Parikh

    The NCEL also has a zero tolerance. They believe they are perfect and make no mistakes.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  74. Ron

    In 1978 I was working for a Ford dealership. I notified my boss that I would be attending my dad's funeral on Wednesday. The whole company signed a condolence card including my boss When I came back ing that next day (Thursday) I was fired for taking the day off to addend the funeral . the boss said that I haden't asked for permission. He was one who authorixed my going.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  75. Ron

    In 1978 I was working for a Ford dealership. I notified my boss that I would be attending my dad's funeral on Wednesday. The whole company signed a condolence card including my boss When I came back to work that next day (Thursday) I was fired for taking the day off to attending the funeral . The boss said that I haden't asked for permission. He was one who authorixed my going.!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  76. NY Ron

    Of course, you realize that as ridiculous as this story sounds, nothing we say here – no matter how incompetent the person who made this decision is – will change his or her mind. This person is obviously too carried away with their own self importance to admit they’re wrong.

    So much for “the principal is my pal” thing. Wausaukee has just been given a black eye for everyone in America to see on CNN by an idiot who has been placed in charge of developing young minds. I hate to think of the possible emotional damage this may cause on that student or anyone else put in their care.

    And the award for worst high school principal in America goes to...Wausaukee, Wisconsin!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  77. Morgan Sheridan

    It is obscene that she should not be allowed to participate in her school's graduation. She earned her academic standing and to punish her for oversleeping one time is worth of all the ridicule and scorn that can be heaped on those who would penalize her. Zero Tolerance = Many Fools.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  78. Vincent

    My daughter hurt her wrist roller skating on Saturday night. It was bothering her on Sunday, but we took a wait and see attitude thinking it was a bad bruise of some kind, hoping it was not broken. After a mainly sleepless Sunday night, I forced her to go to school and said if it still bothered her that I would take her to the doctor/ER when she got home from school on Monday. It apparently hurt enough, that she went to her school's nurse who gave her ice and a form to take to the doctor. My daughter then texted her mother to tell her this and since she was working, she forwarded the message on to me. I texted my daughter back asking how bad was it and did she want me to pick her up and take her to the doctor. She said yes. When I called the school to say I would pick her up, the office attendant's tone became very defiant. How did I know this information? Apparently despite the circumstances, the school immediately judged that my daughter had a "lapse in judgment" in that instead of texting us to tell us she was in pain and needed medical attention, she broke the school's zero tolerance policy on texting during school hours. She should have asked to call us using the office telephone. I picked her up and was informed that the principal of St. Mary's Middle School in Manhasset, NY showed a tremendous amount of Catholic compassion for my daughter's situation by (I was told by the office staff) confiscating her cell phone for 30 days. After a later heated discussion with the principal and the parish's monsignor( who incidentally married us over 25 years ago), they stood fast in their decision saying, "what lesson would she learn if she is allowed to just break the rules whenever she sees fit." I was later informed that the penalty was going to be reduced to a week and subsequently she is suposed to get her phone back today (Friday) 5 days after the fact. I guess that's where the "compassion" of the Catholic church finally appeared. With leadership like this, it's no wonder the Catholic Church finds itself where it is in the eyes of the world. By the way, there was no break, only a severe bruise.

    April 16, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  79. Khattt

    you can find the school boards website online, just google "wausaukee"...CNN I'm sure can't supply the e-mail address for us. I also read the mothers letter to the schoolboard and this school actually has students arrested for bullying graduating and walking across the stage!
    I say we start writing and urging the students to "sleep-out", some things are worth fighting for! Stand strong students!

    April 16, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  80. J Monroe

    Seems that the student is being penalized for telling the truth and not being perfect. If she had told them she had a dentist appointment, she would still be walking the stage. So what is it they are teaching with this policy...... hmmm....

    April 16, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  81. Ryan Martin

    That is not only extreme but highly cruel and unusual. Her classmates should protest by Threatening to not show up for graduation if she is not allowed to march.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  82. Michael C(NY)

    Have you been there long? I'm speaking of the "out of touch with reality" place you seem to reside in. I am positive, after reading your post, that you have never....ever....slipped. You have never made a mistake....screwed up......been wrong......must be a very lonely place. I hope your family/boss/friends never hold you to the "zero is zero" policy. If only ignorance were physically painful.......we'd have less people like you.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  83. krystal

    Thats just so stupid.Its not was a mistake and people make mistakes.At least she showed up at school.I understand if the student has done that more than once.then should the band from the graduation.If it was only once,they should still be able to graduate.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  84. krystal

    Q:Isn't this" Zero Tolerance" against the kids who bring guns,knfies,wepons,drugs,alchohol or bully and threaten other students? A:yes
    Oh.Well I didn't know that this "Zero Tolerance" is also against kids who come to school late.The "Zero Tolerance" has always been against students who bring wepons,drugs and alchohol to school and against kids who bully other students.It has never been against students whoc come to school late.

    April 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  85. Jerry

    Zero tolerance polices are one of the dumbest plans our educational system ever came up with. It's simply a catch-all to keep the school administrators from having to think and make informed decisions. If an honor student is kept from walking at graduating for something so minor is absolutely idiotic!

    April 16, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  86. Obandon

    This student chose to tell the truth to the school about her reason for being tardy. She could have lied and made up something the school would have accepted but chose to do the right thing and be honest. To punish her for her honesty is criminal. What the school is teaching here is Lying is in your best interests! Lie, Cheat, Steal, don't be honest at this school! Do the school administrators lose their jobs if they sleep in and are tardy????????? Zero tolorence should be good for all!

    April 16, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  87. Mary Breach

    I say it is time to reevaluate the tolerance for some things is understandable...guns, drugs, violence, etc. But for attendance, this is just asking for trouble. On the other hand the student knew the policy and my guess is this is not the first time this has happened, unless it is a new policy. It's not a good one, in my opinion. As for what should happen to the student, this is tricky. As a compassionate person I would like to see them make an exception for this student, based on past performance. BUT if they make an exception for her, how many other students will be expecting the same treatment? I wish her reason had been something that was more clearly out of her control. I've had the "alarm didn't go off" experience before myself, but every single time it was operator error: either I set it for pm instead of am, or forgot to turn it on, or something that was my mistake. If the power went off or something, that would be a possible explanation but alarms ALMOST always go off if they are set correctly. She has the right to appeal to the school board, and this is definitely something that should be considered.

    April 16, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  88. Kristy

    How totally stupid is this. Sounds like it was a tardy not an absence if she got to school around 10am. If there is an absolute no, she should show up and get in line to walk at the last minute and see what happens. I bet she'd get some cheers! But somebody better step in and fix this. SHe could have just lied and said she was at the dentist and Im sure she could have gotten a doctors note somehow. She was being honest and just tardy. This school is stupid. I hope they get protesting emails.

    April 16, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  89. T

    Hey, as somebody fairly local to this, consider this:
    First off, this is a policy created four years ago by the school board. This has nothing to do with the administrator (who is also a different administrator then the current one).
    Second, the mother has made 2 different stories regarding why the student in question was late. Honesty, really?
    The mother is the instigator of this huge controversy. The student took the news with dignity.
    As for the absence, all she would have had to do is get her mother to write her a not or call her in late. That's all. Wausaukee isn't that tough to deal with.
    Also, Wausaukee School isn't known to be rigorously difficult. It is quite easy for students to slack and still make Honors. Just throwing that out there.
    The student is an 18 year-old high school senior. She has to accept adult responsibility.
    If I believe correctly, she plans on joining the Navy. I wonder what type of reprimand military personnel get for being 2 hours late?

    April 16, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  90. Bonnie Ostrander

    That girl was honest, and admitted she overslept. It's possible that because of study habits, she did oversleep. Even if it wasn't, she is still to be admired for not lying. How could you humiliate her like that by now allowing her to be in graduation? What kind of example is that to set before children and teenagers, that you should lie about something wrong, like being late?
    I write children's stories for a hobby; and while teenagers are not my specialty, I believe in a child and a teenagers both being raised under the right circumstances. As in this case, whenever there is a difficult problem, lie to solve it is not the way seems to be another way of setting this example. What was done to that teenager was not representing good moral values.

    April 16, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  91. brad

    To all of you people who are blaming this on administration you are way off. to begin with the policy was out in place by the school board the school administrators have brought wausaukee school back up from nearly shutting down. It is the principal and administrators job to follow these policies. I am not a supporter of the policy and dont think it is right. but the policy is in place and needs to be enforced as long as it is in place. This student woke up took a shower and went back to sleep.. the alarm wen toff and she got out of bed . for you guys to go out and blame administration are total fools. this was put in place by board votre when i believe administration was not a supporter of it.

    April 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  92. Mr.Eister

    I pay the salary of these school teachers with my property taxes, this goes to show the 'ignorance' and 'stupidity' of the teachers Union and it's members, the so called ahem? Teachers.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  93. Tiffany M.

    This is redicoulous! There are worse things that seniors have done, Athat I know for a fact!

    April 17, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  94. Tiffany M.

    This is redicoulous! There are worse things that seniors have done at Wausaukee High School than being two hours late! And another thing, why would they only appily it to the last semester? At Wausaukee High School if you have all your credits by the end of the first semester you can be done with school and completely miss the last semester! Y!!!!!! I don't understand how they can justify this?

    April 17, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  95. BenB,

    Will everybody here please phone this school board on Monday AM? Enough pressure and they will change this.

    April 17, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  96. Shana

    Zero tolerance policies are a poor substitute for thoughtful leadership.

    April 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  97. Danny

    This is ridiculous! I thought my school's attendance policy was harsh! 3 years ago, over 100 juniors and seniors were banned from prom because of excessive absences, excused and unexcused. Some of my friends were affected by this and went on the news and said the principal didn't enforce this rule before. At least "excessive" isn't defined by 1 unexcused absence.

    April 17, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  98. maze1gerald

    Here in memphis,memphis city schools also have a zero tolerance policey, were students have to wear white shirts or polo's with tan or blue pants.shoe strings must be all white there can be no logos on the shirts,any student wearing a shirt with a logo on it will be suspended and the parent would have to go the school to clear the suspension.also if a student is 1 minute late to class they will be suspended.I agree with what schools are trying to do,but common sense should be used.if we are to draconian,it could lead to a society of mindless idiots that follow rules no matter if they are right or wrong.remember that old movie where aleins took over the bodies of humans,when ever they saw some else that wasn't behaving as the rest they pointed them out and shrieked.

    April 17, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  99. Cindy B

    This is the positively absurd. I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance rules. How many of the teachers or members of the school board would want zero tolerance rules in THEIR lives? Life happens, people!

    Like the young man said, if he'd known this was going to happen, he could have done like a good number of other students would have done and lied, stayed home all day and got a doctor's excuse for some vague ailment. Has anyone noticed there seems to be more punishment these days for honesty and truth and tolerance for deceit?

    All I can say is thank heaven, short of turning your back on Him and denying Him, our Heavenly Father doesn't have a zero tolerance policy!

    April 18, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  100. Beth

    Sam was not ABSENT; she was LATE. How did this violate the zero tolerance policy for unauthorized absences in place at the school? I wonder at the intelligence of those who don't know the difference between these two words. This is just one more example of the dictatorial, selective behavior of many public schools administrations. I understand that at least one student was arrested at the school and now has a record, but will be marching at graduation. HUH?????

    If I could, I would proudly sign the petition requesting that this young lady be allowed to march with her classmates and be recognized in front of everyone for her achievements. CONGRATULATIONS, Sam!

    April 18, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  101. Casey Chester

    I can understand a tolerance level, but this is ridiculous. I think they need to add up all the good these children do though out their schooling life. For it all to boil down to the last semester of their 12th year teaches them nothing. If I were the family I would fight the town school tax i paid and demand it all back for the 12 years my kid has gone to school. I think the schools need to start kissing up to the people who put money in their pockets and teach more valuable lessons them this one.

    April 18, 2010 at 8:08 am |
  102. Rhonda LaValley

    Another example of why some kids "lie". If she said she was "sick" and had her parents take her to the doctors for......let's say for cramps or a headache, the doctor would write a note and it would be excused. She then could have went back to school turned in the note and not been punished. The girl told the truth and for that she is punished. Zero tolererance...sounds alot like communism doesn't it.

    April 18, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  103. Yvonne

    My son had a similar experience. He overslept after staying up late studying for an exam. Realizing what had happened, he immediately went to the test which was still going on. Not only was he not allowed to take the test but was given an F in the class. The F brought down his grade point average so much that the department suspended him .

    After appealing the suspension, he was granted probation for a semester. He retook the class and eventually overcame the lower grade point average and graduated. Unfortunately, he learned that if he had been dishonest and gotten a doctor's note, he could have made up the test.

    April 18, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  104. mike

    I tried to read most of the replies to this story in an attempt to preclude redundancy but I didn't see this point stand out in any other replies.

    This rule in particular is aimed directly at preventing graduating seniors from taking advantage of what we used to call 'Senior Ditch Day'. By implementing a rule such as this, the administration is using intimidation as a method of deterring student participating in such a boondoggle. At least that's the goal and hope of the administration. Those students that don't care about high school records or walking across a stage to receive a diploma will simply skip or ditch anyway.

    I have not and will not ever support Zero Tolerance Rules. Zero Tolerance Rules exist so that the administration doesn't have to interpret every single case in order to make a decision. School administrators are told by their district lawyers to have written rules and policies in an effort to avoid unnecessary lawsuits. I'm sure this is the situation with this rule.

    April 18, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  105. jim

    i went to a catholic school me and a friend got in trouble on a class trip when we got gack from field trip we where call to the headmaster office he found out we where chasing animals around they had pictures he told us that we where getting expelled from school and that our parents where on there way up to the school to take us home thats when the headmaster step out of the office my girlfriend was walking by the office she peek thru the door an asked me what going on i told her she went back to tell everyone within 5 minutes there was 40 to 50 other students who came down to the office and waited for the headmaster when he arrived they all told him that they all did the same thing and thats when he changed his mind note us to and most of 40 to50 poeple where all on football team our team was a powerhouse so he send all of us back to class with not even a detention nothing when my dad arrived he told him sorry for the misunderstanding and sent him home

    April 18, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  106. Dawn

    I believe the zero policy was more then likely put in placed for students who have indeed slacked and do not show up for class, however to punish an honor student for an honest mistake that has happened more then once to the best of us. You can not tell me that those who placed this policy into the school has never been late or absent any time in thier life. Let the girl who may I remind you is an HONOR student walk on stag.

    April 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  107. Bob

    We are functionally insane in this country anymore. To even entertain the notion of whether or not teachers and admin's over-reach their worth and value is troubling. It is truly fascinating that our minds actually fall victim to commonplace dictatorships such as school boards...yet another mafia school board with delusions of power, integrity, and wisdom.

    April 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  108. Bill Vandenhoogen

    I graduated from there. Apparently they are simply trying to make an example of this student. Honor student, one tardy not bad considering having to deal with weather issues and driving. I wonder how many of the staff have been late the last semester ? how many of them were slightly tardy ? Should they be allowed to continue teaching that semester ? Narrowmindedness on the school's part is affecting this students financial future. Obviously they have not gotten any better about caring about the students in the last 19 yrs.

    April 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  109. Kim

    Calling all radical classmates! Get together as a class and everyone come to school 15 min. late and perhaps the school will end up with NO graduating class. What will happen then? Take a stand for what's right and back your classmate!

    April 21, 2010 at 8:12 pm |