WASHINGTON, DC -- A public school that suspended students for snorting Kool-Aid -- that's right; snorting Kool-Aid! -- shows that "zero tolerance" policies have gone too far. Zero tolerance has become infinitely ridiculous.
Unless school officials thought they had to act fast before students start smoking Tang or mainlining Hawaiian Punch, then suspending students for abusing Kool-Aid seems to be a classic case of zero tolerance nonsense.
This week, the O.T. Bonner Middle School in Danville, Virginia, suspended eight students for one week after they were caught sniffing Kool-Aid.
The seventh- and eighth-grade students were charged with "possession of contraband" because they were "using Kool-Aid in a way that imitated the use of illegal drugs," school officials explained.
The students got off easy: They could have been suspended for a year on the charge of "using a look-alike drug."
But any government school bureaucrat who thinks the brightly colored, sugary, powdered drink mix is "a look-alike drug" -- or even "contraband" -- must have, well, gone to a government school.
Over the past year...
* A school in New Jersey suspended two kindergarten students after they played "cops and robbers" on the playground, pointed their fingers at each other like guns, and shouted "bang bang!"
* A school in Maryland suspended a student after he drew a crude picture of a gun on a piece of paper. The nine-year-old was charged with violating the school's anti-weapon policy.
* A school in Kansas suspended a seventh-grader for three days after he drew a picture of a confederate flag. The flag, said officials, violated the school's policy against "racially divisive" material.
* A school in Michigan flagged a sixth-grader as a potential violence risk -- and told his parents they had to meet with the school's "Hazard and Risk Assessment Team" -- after he suggested that one way to prevent school shootings would be to allow teachers to carry guns.
* A school in Minnesota refused to allow a high school senior who had enlisted in the Army to pose for a yearbook picture sitting atop a World War II howitzer at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post. The photo would violate the school's anti-weapon policy, said officials.