Nick Gillespie on how zero-tolerance policies hurt our kids:

Before there was Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old terrorist (read: nerd) who was arrested for bringing an explosive device (read: clock) to a Texas high school, there was Joshua, the seven-year-old Napoleon of Crime who was suspended from his Maryland elementary school for chewing his Pop-Tart into a gun and pointing it at fellow students.

Before Joshua there was Patrick Agin, a Rhode Island high school senior and member in good standing of the Society for Creative Anachronism, who had to sue his school to allow a yearbook picture of him dressed in chain-mail armor and carrying a broadsword. And long before Patrick Agin rode in bureaucratic battle, there was the curious case of the unnamed eighth grader we’ll call “Midol Mary”. She got booted from her school in Washington state for the unforgiveable crime of giving a non-prescription pain-relief pill to a classmate suffering menstrual cramps.

Listing the undeserving victims of zero-tolerance policies in public K-12 schools yields a genealogy as long, confusing, and endlessly multiplying as any found in the Old Testament or a late-run episode of Honey Boo-Boo. And why this is so and whether the benefits outweigh the costs are questions well worth asking.

Read Gillespie’s full piece here.