Sierra is a practically perfect seventh grader. She works hard in school, she's involved in lots of extra stuff, and she always follows the rules. It's no surprise, then, that the teachers and even the principal of Longwood Middle School think she's great. So when she opens what she thinks is her own lunch at school one day to find out it's her mom's lunch instead, complete with paring knife for cutting an apple, she turns the whole thing in to the lunch lady right away. After all, the school has a zero tolerance policy for weapons. It was an honest mistake, so Sierra is sure everything will be all right.
But it isn't.
Suddenly, the eyes that have always looked at Sierra with appreciation and approval are suspicious. How could she make such a mistake? Doesn't she understand that no exceptions means NO exceptions?
Sierra, who has never gotten any grade lower than a B (and only one of those), is stunned and horrified to find herself in the principal's office in trouble. Words like "mandatory expulsion," "meeting with parents," and "detention" whirl around her as she fights back tears. Why doesn't anyone understand? How can this be happening to her?
In "Zero Tolerance," Claudia Mills has taken an insightful look at zero tolerance policies and how, when they're not combined with common sense and understanding, situations around them can escalate out of control.
Parent alert: Although this book is obviously written for a middle grade audience which would empathize with seventh-grade Sierra, there is cursing present in the book which may cause parents concern. Please be advised that, for this reason, you may want to pre-read "Zero Tolerance" before you had it off to your middle grader.
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Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers
Source of review copy: Gail Borden Public Library