The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

Starting his second lap of the race, senior Sanil Desai continues through the course at the Vista Ridge cross country invitational on Aug. 25. This was the second meet of the season and Desai finished in 19th place. “I was thinking about the team placements,” Desai said. “A lot of the schools at the Vista meet will be at districts so I was trying to pass as many people as I could, I’m mostly worried about Leander because they have an all around strong team.”
In It For the Long Run
Mai Cachila, Reporter • September 21, 2023

Getting into...

Continue Reading
In the weight room, Coach K directs her basketball athletes as they get a lift in during their athletic period. According to Coach K, she hopes to not only continue the success of the program but also make them better players and people. “I feel like one of my biggest roles is to be a mentor and a person they can look up to,” Coach K said. “Someone who will be there for them long after they’re gone from the program.”
Born to Ball
Penny Moreno, Reporter • September 20, 2023

Two minutes remain...

Continue Reading
Handing a towel to a coach, freshman Norah Goett  fulfills her duties as an athletic trainer at the JV game against Vandegrift on August 31. As a part of being a student trainer, Goett is required to go to every football practice and game. I enjoy the fun of helping people,” Goett said. “Being able to go to the games and be on the field and have that experience is really cool.”
Photo by Alyssa Fox
The Anatomy of Sports Medicine
Jane Yermakov, Reporter • September 19, 2023

In the gleam...

Continue Reading
“Barbie” was released July 21 in theaters, accumulating $155 million over opening weekend. What looks to be a happy introduction with the pink Warner Bros. logo, it soon turns into a movie discussing the serious topic of feminism. “I didn’t realize that it was going to be as in-depth as it was,” biology teacher Adam Babich said. “I thought it was just a fun, campy movie and when I went and saw it I just instantly fell in love.”

Photo by Caroline Howard
I'm a Barbie Girl, In a Non-Barbie World
Caroline Howard, Reporter • September 18, 2023

The lights dim...

Continue Reading
Starting the early morning practice, new swim and dive coach Kyla Gargiulo informs her student-athletes of their next set, giving them tips to help along the way. Gargiulo looks forward to keeping the swim team competitive and improving throughout the year. “The thing I love most about coaching is getting to be a part of the sport that I fell in love with,” Gargiulo said. “[I also love getting to] help the current team achieve and surpass their goals while having fun.”  Photo by Kaydence Wilkinson
Rookies of the Year
Kaydence Wilkinson, Reporter • September 15, 2023

Volleyball, basketball,...

Continue Reading
Leaning back on her right, varsity tennis member junior Mia Petty prepares to receive the ball with the traditional racket swing. For student athletes, the heat has caused many changes to previously created habits involved in sport practices, but it can also be a tool, according to Petty. The heat is definitely annoying, Petty said. There are so many things that you have to do to avoid exhaustion and it feels excessive at times. [However], I think the heat further encourages me to get outside. [I want to] be exposed to the heat as much as possible so I can better acclimate to being hot and tired.
A Love-Heat Relationship With Texas
Kassidy Wilkinson, Reporter • September 14, 2023

As the thin red...

Continue Reading

Zero tolerance policy: is it fair?

     Most everyone has done it: doodled on a desk, marked on a wall, written phrases here and there on bathroom stalls, chairs or  lab tables. Most of us get off with clean-up duty and a warning, but imagine if the next time a student drew a harmless smiley face on the corner of their desk, they were immediately handcuffed and degradingly escorted out of their school to the local police department. Sure, you can’t deny what they did was wrong, but getting the police involved over one measly smiley face seems a bit much.

     According to CNN, this is precisely what happened to 12-year-old Alexa Gonzalez. Doodled on her desk were the words “I love my friends Abby and Faith. Lex was here 2/1/10 :)” and the middle schooler was taken out of her class in handcuffs in the full view of all of her peers. Though Gonzalez, who had never been in any kind of trouble before the incident, missed three days of class, she did not end up facing charges and the threat of suspension from school was withdrawn.

     Unfortunately, this story is not unique. Effects of zero-tolerance policies for minor infractions in schools have skyrocketed. According to CNN, as many as 25 students were arrested for a food fight in their middle school cafeteria, and other offenses such as putting stickers on walls and being tardy to class have merited tickets, fines and even arrests. Although the crimes appear trivial and the punishments outrageous, government officials are within their rights to discipline the guilty party due to the fact that vandalism of school property is a culpable offense that legally designates such punishments.

     So where do we draw the line? Yes, students know that it is against the rules to draw on desks and write on walls, but at what point does the doodling stop becoming detention worthy and start becoming a crime?

Story continues below advertisement

     Perhaps school officials should have a  more nuansed discipline policy that addresses all of the  the circumstances. Profanities, inappropriate drawings, threats of violence and degrading statements could arguably be more harshly punishable for their negative messages, whereas positive statements, uplifting quotes and doodles may only merit a minor penalty.

     Or maybe the value of items vandalized should play a part in severity of the punishment. Defacing private buildings, public monuments and religious edifices may all fall within the realm of more severe punishments, whereas marking a desk with a pen or putting a sticker on the wall all deserve less significant discipline.

     Clearly, laws and rules against vandalism make sense. It’s the blind, un-nuanced “zero tolerance” type of enforcement of these kinds of laws that don’t take into account things like context, intent, degree of damage and other significant considerations that are the problem.  Isn’t anyone else upset by the wasted resources consumed by over anxious prosecutors that try to criminalise normal adolescent behavior and tie up the courts with nonsense?

     Students have been taught right from wrong, and most understand the consequences for criminal behavior such as murder, theft and arson. However, when we criminalise misbehaving, we do an injustice to all. Punishments should be appropriate and proportional to the inappropriate behavior.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

Comments on The Wolfpack must be approved before posting.
All The Wolfpack Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School
Zero tolerance policy: is it fair?