It's time to rethink some reactions
Anyone who marveled at the kangaroo court conducted by former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella understands the folly of "zero tolerance" policies in schools. Some school officials, none of whom were held accountable, relieved themselves of the burden of judgment and took their disciplinary problems to the corrupt Mr. Ciavarella, who blithely locked away the kids.
The folly of zero tolerance was further on display April 22 in Bartow, Fla. One week after the Boston Marathon bombing, 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot - who had no disciplinary record - mixed together some toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a high school science lab. The reaction caused a firecracker-like pop, blowing the top off the container and creating some smoke. There were no injuries and no damage.
She was acting out of curiosity rather than malice. A friend said Ms. Wilmot was working on a science fair project.
The school expelled Ms. Wilmot and police charged her with possession and discharge of a weapon on school grounds and with discharging a destructive device - felonies.
Such overkill won't deter any terrorist. But it will thwart curiosity and learning. The school and police should rethink their own explosive reactions.