I write this from Barcelona where it is a bright sunny morning.

Here is a good piece on Colorado’s experience applying a zero tolerance approach at schools post the Columbine School killings:  http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_12179638

The idea of zero tolerance reflects a zero vision of reality.  While of course guns should not be allowed at schools, imposing blanket punishments on students for rule violations ignores reality. The nature of childhood and learning, assumes making mistakes.

Please read about Carol Dweck’s work on mindsets about how important it is that we focus on our efforts and not be intolerant about making mistakes and failing.  One thing that I especially appreciate about surfing (real waves in the ocean) is the lesson that we should expect to wipe out and make mistakes.  That’s how we learn.

Schools should help youth learn how to behave well and to be tolerant, not intolerant.  If intolerance worked to teach people how to be kind and well behaved, we would not have prison recidivism.

I am reading Phil Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil about his Stanford University prison experiment in 1971.  It took only a few days of intolerance to create an inhumane experimental prison.

If we want kind and humane behavior of youth, our schools need to be tolerant institutions that expect mistakes and that focus on efforts.  Restorative justice is a much better way to deal with mistakes than zero tolerance….