Double Standards

News came out yesterday about a high school student facing expulsion for bringing a gun to school. Allegedly, she had been out hunting and left an unloaded rifle in her trunk. She turned herself in when she heard that there were dogs on school grounds sniffing around for contraband.

Sounds fairly black and white. Many schools have a zero-tolerance anti-weapon policy, and there is federal law (Guns-Free Schools Act) that legislates these kinds of incidents.

But this story has other complications. Elsewhere, news sources are reporting that the student in trouble is an honor roll student and a varsity cheerleader. Now that we have a face to go with the story, the interwebs are up in arms. People are complaining about the fairness of the zero-tolerance aspect, arguing gun rights, and demanding leniency for this 16 year old girl. There's the claims that enforcing the policy is "idiocy." One online commenter posted something along the lines of it not being common sense to ruin this young girl's life over a simple mistake.

Now, I don't want to start a debate over the second amendment. Nor do I want to argue for or against the logic in the consequence of this girl's actions.

I do however have a simple question. What if it was a different student? What if it was the same situation - an unloaded rifle inadvertently left in the trunk after a hunting trip, willingly admitted to school officials before the police discovered it... but instead of it being a pretty cheerleader with straight A's, what if it was an average student that didn't participate in any extra-curricular activities? What if it was a troubled kid from a broken home? What if it was just the quiet kid that kept to himself and rarely interacted with his peers?

If it was any student other than a popular girl with a stellar academic record, would we have heard about it? Would it have been so newsworthy? Would there be the same demands for leniency?

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