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February 11, 2010     The Harris County Journal
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February 11, 2010
 

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Opinions & Ideas PAGE 4-A - HARRIS COUNTY JOURNAL - THURSDAY, FEB. 11, 2010 Tm HARMS COtmTY JOtmNAL USPS235960 A Grittu~s ~tdfli~atimt Millard B. Grimes, President IVln.,LARD B. GRnWES F'Rr_Smr, wr/CEO Jox-n,q KUYIUBLISH~DITOR N'IICHAEL C. SNn~F-~ .~SSC~EIATE EDrrOR ROB I~ICldI/KRDSON L,AYOUT EDITOR I.~u~aE J. LEwxs 2~kI~VEI~TISII~G DIRECTOR WE~IDY WAGES BUSINESS MtkiNIA GER Phone (706) 628-$370 or (706) 8~-31g8 Fax C706~ 846-2206 or 628-9044 P. O. Box 75 o 112 North College Street Hamilton, Georgia 31811 Official Legal Organ for Harris County Kudos for Modifying Zero Tolerance Policy Sen. Emanuel Jones, who represents Dekalb and Henry counties, has introduced a revision to the zero tolerance policy for school systems. Jones introduced the leg- islative package that would restructure a portion of the zero tolerance policy after an incident that occurred in the Morgan County School System recently. A 14-year-old boy was treated like a criminal after he voluntarily turned a knife in to his principal. According to his mother, the morning of the incident the boy could not find his backpack and she gave him another for school. When he arrived at school and opened the backpack, he realized there was apocketknifeinside it. He took the knife to his win- cipal and explained what had happened. However, because of the zero tolerance policy, the boy was arrested and held over night in a detention center before receiving a hearing. According to the news sto- ries I've read, the boy was an excellent student with good grades, participated in sports and many other activities at the school. He had never been in trouble before and was try- ing to do the right thing. Of course, the principal was also doing what was required of him as well. The problem with all of this is simple. The zero toler- ance policy is that it allows for zero common sense when making decisions. NOW DON'T get me wrong, we must make it clear in our schools that bringing a weapon to school is not some- thing to be tolerated. A weapon at a school certainly puts public safety in jeopardy. Schools must be kept safe. However, there should also be a provision that allows schools to look at each offense indi- vidually because they are.cer- tainly not all alike. In this case, you have a student who has never been in trouble and is attempting to follow the rules and guide- lines of the school system, but in this case the rules also worked against him. Let's look at this objec- tively. If any adult were in possession of a weapon on public property, or another location where weapons are banned, Georgia law allows for "affirmative defense." In other words, the person with the weapon can inform an offi- cer of the law that he or she is in possession of it and sur- render it to the officer and there is "no harm, no foul." That is not the case with the zero tolerance policy estab- lished for our schools. OVER THE YEARS the zero tolerance policy has resulted in rising suspension and expulsion rates in Georgia schools. The number of chil- dren suspended from school has risen from 1.7 million in 1974 to 3.1 million in 2000. Many of the students were expelled for committing what might be considered only minor infractions to the zero tolerance policy and a large number of the students expelled were kids who had no previous history of mis- conduct. IT IS unfortunate that this teenager had to go through all of this, but if anything did come from it, the situation has opened the eyes of some of our lawmakers and made them realize that at least a child should be heard before he or she is automatically dis- ciplined. Sen. Jones has entered a bill that would require a judge's hearing before a child could be taken into custody for a zero tolerance policy infrac- tion. If passed, it could be a good way to slow down the now quick process and allow for more judicious consider- ation for each individual case. "I am also submitting companion legislation that requires school districts to keep and provide the Georgia Department of Education with a detailed record of kids disciplined under the zero tol- erance policy," Sen. Jones said. "Existing law does not make the distinction of how many kids are suspended using this section of the law. "Right now, it's impossi- ble to know exactly how many stu~lents are beingpushedinto alternative education or into the juvenile justice system due to excessive use of zero tolerance policies. "WE NEED this data to answer the most pressing questions and bring trans- parency to the process. "This legislation is in no way intended to weaken dis- cipline in schools, but is aimed at injecting some common sense into the process so that the appropriate degree and type oY discipline may be applied to the student for their overall benefit." I'm in agreement with Sen. Jones on this. It is imper- ative that we keep our schools safe for our children, but we also need to use common sense with the zero tolerance policies. I am a firm believer in discipline and structure in our schools, but sometimes we just have to use common sense when dealing with such issues. THE HARMS COUNTY JOURNAL zs published weekly by the Star- Mercury Publishing Company, a division of Grimes Publications. at 112 North College Street, (P.O. Box 75) Hamilton, Ga., 31811. USPS 235-960. Periodical postage paid at Hamilton Post Office. Hamilton. Ga. 31811. FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS call (706) 846-3188 or write to Circulation Manager, Star Mercury Publications, E O. Box 75, Hamilton. Georgia 31811. Subscription rates by mail: $20 in Men'wether, Hams or Troup Counties; $26 a year elsewhere. Prices include all sales taxes. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to P. O. Box 75, Hamilton. Georgia 31811. Just Whose Idea Was Valentines Day? Head's up, guys. Valentine's Day is Sunday. Your wife, or girlfriend, is expecting something nice. If you have not purchased that gift already, you are rap- idly running out of time. I humbly suggest you get the lead out and get moving. For those of you that believe Valentine's Day was created by greeting card companies and candy mak- ing companies, you are wrong. Valentine's Day, original- ly called Saint Valentine's Day, is reported to have been established about 500 AD and was named after early Christian martyrs, including Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. Saint Valentine's Day became associated with romantic love and affection by Geoffrey Chaucer in the period known as High Middle Ages. Modern symbols of Valentine's Day, including hearts, doves, cupids and more began appearing in the 19th century. But the greeting card companies, candy making companies, florists and other gift suppliers were very quick to jump on the Valentine's Day bandwagon. In fact, it was just shortly after Christmas and the big discount superstore had Valentine's Day cards, gifts and candy collections on dis- play and available. The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that about a billion Valentine cards are sent each year. This ranks only behind Christmas cards. GUYS, it will come as no surprise to you that the U.S. Greeting Card Association also reports that in the United States, men on average spend about twice as much on women as women spend on men. Think about that for a moment. How many guys get angry because they did not receive a Valentine's gift? Actually, I have never heard of that happening. But guys, you forget to get a Valentine's Day gift for that special woman in your life and what happens? A multi-megaton ther- monuclear detonation is noth- ing by comparison. Yes, it's not fair, but that is just the way it is. OKAY GUYS, Valentine's Day is Sunday. You still have time to get her something. Sweets, candies or flow- ers - they all work well. Of course you could wait until Saturday or Sunday and take her shopping - in which case you are a better man than Iam. But if. you dally around and forget to do anything, and find this column taped to the refrigerator come Monday morning- you are deep, deep in the stinky stuff. Guys, one more time, Valentine's Day is Sunday. Do not forget because it will costyou a lot more for a long time if you do. That's my opirdon. When the Price of Socks. Kept Changing Mama bought my socks at Judson Smith's warehouse south of Moreland. Judson sold cut-rate clothes, better known as "sec- onds," at a very cheap price. Mama bought my white socks in a bundle, six pairs for less than a dollar. To be sure, Judson's socks were a little thin and tended to lose some of their elastici- ty at some point during their first wearing, but who could argue with six pairs of socks, of any description, for less than a dollar. I was quite happy with my socks. THEN MY cousin Jimmy came to visit. Jimmy was the son of my Uncle Johnny, Mama's 01de~ bih)ther. Uncle Johnny was a d0c- tor. Jimmy took one look at my socks and laughed. "Where did you get those stupid looking socks?" he asked. "What's wrong with my socks?" I asked back. "They're too thin," he explained. "You need athlet- ic socks like I'm wearing." Cousin Jimmy showed me his socks. They were white, like mine, but they we, re, indeed, much thicker and made of an obvious better grade material. "How long have you had those socks?" I asked him. "A year," he said. And their elasticity seemed com- pletely intact. "What do socks like that cost?" was my next question. "Dollar a pair," he said. I was astounded. A dollar a pair. It cost a dime to go to the Alamo Theatre in Newnan. A Big Orange belly wash- er, as they were called, was only a nickel. After Jimmy left, I told Mama~hatrny Jdd~olx's socks woutdn~ t-dO ~ore: ! nee.~- ed athletic so~ks. ........ "What do they cost?" Mama asked me. "Dollar a pair," I answered. After being revived, she said, "I've never heard of such a thing." THE FOLLOWING Christmas, there was a pair of white athletic socks in my stocking. I wore them to school five days a week, to the envy of my friends, and then Mama washed them on the weekend. AFTER EIGHTH grade. Moreland children were bussed six miles to Newnan High School. Newnan was a prosper- oUs community: ..... - Cotton money. Old money. Doctors. Lawy~rs.'BartRer~. The Newnan boys laughed at my white socks. "You don't wear those anymore," they said. "You need to get some Gold Cups." "How much are Gold Cups?" I asked a Newnan classmate. "Two dollars a pair," he answered. Same stow. Mama's eyes rolled back in her head and she lost consciousness tem- porarily. But for Christmas, there were two pairs of Gold Cups in my stocking - a light blue pair to go with my blue shirt and a yellow pair to go with my yellow shirt. I made it all the way through high school on those two pairs of socks... ...to be continued next week... By special arrangement with his widow, Dedra, the Journal is om'yiag selected ~coluams by ~he late-I~wis ~flz~'d,~ gl~w,up in nearby Moreland, and became the most widely re~d Georgia writer of his time. G~d's books and tapes are still available for sale through Bad Boot Produ~dons, tK) Box 191266, Atlanta, GA 31118-1266, and at book and music stores nationwide. i!i!iiil 0 rrls County Compiled by Rob Richardson ONGOING ADVENTURE - The big stow on the front of the Feb. 9, 1950 Harris County Journal was the first in a series of reports by Harris County Farm Bureau Delegate Dean W. Ebbett. Ebbett was in Chicago, attending the American Farm Bureau Association Convention. His first installment detailed leaving Harris on the Man O'War and transferring to another train in Atlanta "just for delegates" and watching the change in soil colors as he headed toward Chicago. The dirt in Illinois was much blacker than in Georgia, he noted. He was staying at the Hotel Stevens, "the tallest in the world," but was disappointed that there was no snow although he did learn why Chicago was called the Windy City. MORE THAN JUST SPORTS - Apparently, girls bas- ketball was still a bit of a novelty, and another front page article seemed to have a certain undercurrent. "It isn't often that you have the chance to see a beauty pageant and a series of fast snappy basketball games at the same time, but that chance of a lifetime is here. The prettiest girls in the school district will meet to decide the basketball championship of the eastern divi- sion, class C in the district tournament to be played in the Hamilton Hig h School gymnasium, Feb. 15-16." BUT WHO WILL CLEAN THE FLOOR AFTER- WARDS? - An inside stow promoted one of the odder fundraising crazes of the 1960s, donkey basketball. "A donkey basketball game will be held in the Chipley gym Saturday night, Feb. 11. The youth will furnish the opposition for the old men, or those over 30 years of age. Evewone is assured of an evening full of fun; it is reported that even the donkeys will enjoy it." PREPARING FOR THE CURSE OF SUMMER Another front page stow was small but important. "Mr. James Li pp, appointed rabies control officer for Harris County, announces his schedule for the inoculation of dogs. All dogs should be inoculated by July 1 and the public is urged to cooperate with Mr. Lipp."