The Zero-Tolerance Lemon Policy
In the schools of the USA, the war on drugs has gone way beyond the list of illegal drugs. Candies that used to be legal are now prohibited. For example, your child could be suspended for eating lemon or lime drops, as happened in Taylor Elementary School in Colorado Springs in 1997. See lemon drops.
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
A 6-year old student shared a lemon drop with a friend. Evidently nobody told him that lemon drops were included in the list of illegal drugs. "Lemon drops" are hard candies made from lemon and sugar. They contain no alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other intoxicating or mind-altering substances, but these particular drops were made from organically-grown ingredients. It was bad enough that the candy had lemon and sugar, which are drugs, but it was bought in a health-food store and the drugs were organic!
When the teacher saw the child share a organic lemon drop, she knew she had to enforce the law. The zero-tolerance policy now widely in effect in American schools mandates swift and severe penalties. The child was suspended for violating the school's anti-drug policy. The school also called an ambulance for the student's friend who received and ingested the lemon drop. They also called the fire department. They should also have called the National Guard, but for some reason this was overlooked.
A member of the school board defended the action, especially because the lemon drop was organic. Organic lemons and sugar are grown without any pesticides or artificial chemicals. He said the organic lemon drops looked more pill-like than the "real sugar" drops made with lemon that was grown with chemicals and pesticides.
While some libertarians deplore the school's policy, actually the school did the right thing. The anti-drug policy is indeed ridiculous, but given that the federal mandate exists, it is necessary to teach students that there are very bad consequences for violating the drug laws. Better to teach them using lemon or lime drops than to have them find out later with marijuana.
The zero-tolerance enforcement also teaches young children about the reality of liberty and justice in America. In school they learn the fairy tale myth about the US being a free country with liberty and justice for all. Zero-tolerance suspension teaches children correctly that these are fiction, and that the reality is severe government intervention into their personal lives. It's good that children are learning this real-world lesson early.
The American Bar Association has come out against this kind of zero-tolerance policy in the 14,000 school districts in the USA. The organization, representing 400,000 lawyers, said such a policy turns students into criminals. But the reality is that by current law they are criminals, so why not let the students know this?
Steve Dasbach, the national Libertarian Party's national director, stated that "These policies teach children that justice is inflexible, and doesn't care about circumstances, or fairness, or good sense. And they teach children that they have no rights -- that they are criminals if they play innocent childhood games, say the wrong thing, or share a lemon drop candy with a friend."
But that is exactly the case with justice in America - children really don't have constitutional rights. Children are the property of the state, and as property, the state may do as it wishes with them. Adults, of course, are also property of the state. That is why the government may tax your wages, confiscate your property, force you into the army, and even kill you. What's wrong with teaching students the truth?
If the schools are serious about the zero-tolerance drug policy, they need to go much further. For example:
- All candy of any sort must be banned. That includes chocolate, which is a drug. Any child eating candy must be suspended, sent to a hospital, and undergo 100 hours of psychological inquisition.
- The following words must be prohibited: drug, candy, soda, pop, sugar, drop, lemon, and sweets. Fathers must be called "daddy" and not "pop." Those calling their father "papa" must be warned that this sounds too much like "pop," as in "soda pop," which is a drug.
- No child should wear any yellow-colored clothing. Lemons are yellow, lemon drops are drugs, so wearing yellow is drug-related.
- Chemistry and biology must no longer be taught in any school, public or private. Drugs are made using chemistry and biology, and teaching these topics results in a slippery slope to drugs. All books on chemistry and biology must be placed in adults-only sections of library, and related web sites must be filtered.
This would be a true zero-tolerance policy. As it now stands, with chemistry being taught and children allowed to eat candy, policy is far from zero. Perhaps the new federal administration will make this true-zero policy a top priority, especially if they can combine it with a faith-based lemon doctrine.
-- Fred Foldvary
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Copyright 2001 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.