Zero Tolerance

On Saturday, the Chronicle finally got around to telling the story of Shelby Sendelbach – the 12-year-old sixth grader in Katy ISD charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to four months of alternative school for defacing school property by writing “I love Alex” in small letters with a Sharpie.

The story first appeared last Wednesday in our Hair Balls column. It even showed up on the Chron’s message boards before it ran in the paper.

One thing stood out to us about the Chron’s report, and that’s the quote from Fred Hink, the go-to-guy on all things zero tolerance:

“Equating a child that writes a simple line on an obscure area is not the same as a kid who brought marijuana to school – but in the eyes of some districts, especially Katy ISD, these children are equal.”

It’s the phrase “especially Katy ISD.” Why especially Katy ISD? Is there a higher rate of students getting hammered for petty stuff at Katy ISD compared with other public school districts in Texas? If so, are there statistics to support this? Or have there been more high-profile zero-tolerance cases in Katy ISD? If so, what were they?

It seems like a statement that begs for support or at least some type of explanation. – Todd Spivak

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