Over at Joanne Jacobs there's a discussion about a kid who was suspended for 3 days for sniffing a Sharpie, after he had used it to color his clothing. I suggested there's was probably more to this story, like the kid is a chronic behavior problem, or at the least, he had taken a Sharpie from the teacher's desk. I also noted that if the fumes had been toxic, and the school had done nothing to stop it, the school would be sued.
Of course the public school bashing crowd over there took exception, so this morning I gave them my "Rule of 500" and I'm interested to see the response. In a nutshell it works like this.
The next time you have a parent complaining about the punishment you gave their little darling, who really wasn't doing anything all that bad, hit them with the Rule of 500.
In the example above I would say, "What do you think this school would be like if ALL 500 kids were taking Sharpies from the teachers' desks, coloring their clothing and then sniffing the fumes? How much learning do you think would go on? IF WE LET YOUR CHILD GET AWAY WITH IT WE HAVE TO LET EVERY CHILD DO IT."
That usually shuts most parents up.