When is younger, I moved from a school which used it's brains. I got stabbed with a pen and I defended myself from being stabbed again. Other kid kicked out and school called in police for assault charges on other kids because of the use of a weapon. (I still have a blue mark on my arm)
Moved to a zero tolerance school. (moved often. Why I was picked on so much) Parents were used to other schools where they used their brains instead of blanket policies.
First year there was hell. Problem with this black belt teen (or almost at that point) . Let's cask him Dan. First fight was massive. Dan had smashed me in the head with a chair while I was sitting so I reacted to defend myself, teacher just standing there watching. I got suspended for a week because I didn't stop when the teacher said so. Dan got a week too. When I got home, I was in so much shit with parents. Worst I ever have been, even after being assaulted with a chair.
I had decided that this school I couldn't over react. So basically block and diffuse. First day back, Dan found me and punched me in the back of the head down a quiet hallway. So much pain and bleeding from the back of my head. I ran as fast as I could to the office. They stuck me in the nurses office instead of taking me to the hospital. In that time, they had pulled in Dan, and Dan denied it. His friends said he was in lunch room. Took Dan and his friends words, even though I clearly saw Dan.
I got suspended for three days for being in a fight. A fight with no assailant. Parents flew off the hook, took me to hospital (I was fine) and then back into the school. They insinuated that I had started the fight somehow, even though they didn't know who. They said that Dan say seen in the lunch room by others. In the end, parents were mad at me that I couldn't diffuse the situation.
Here in, Dan kept in on me. I avoided low traffic areas, so he resorted to attacking me anyways. We would both get suspensions. I would get in shit at home. I think I spent over half of grade 8 at home, miserable.
The attacks started out of school, but now I was too afraid to report it. I would fight back in public, but he would just get his friends involved. I would avoid a lot of damage by running. I never did tell parents until later and never the police, for fear of same issue as the school.
Last few months, after being told I was getting suspended this time for being seen running from Dan, I snapped at administration. I told them that I hadn't even been hit and that I was just getting away from the situation like they said. "You shouldn't even be in this position in the first place." I snapped back "Fine, but if I'm going to get suspended for nothing, I'm going to make sure it's going to be worth it."
I got an in school suspension for a week for this one. Parents realized that I had no bruises, and were baffled that there wasn't even a fight. Dad called them on it and they pulled out a rulebook. He went to the school division. They pulled out the rule book and showed him the rules. Dad asked "so all this time, my son has been telling the truth and he's been bullied for a while year, and this is your reaction?" Yep. Dad went to police. They wouldn't do anything unless it happened outside the school. We didn't have a choice to move. He told me "If you are suspended, and you say you didn't start it, we will take your word for it."
My new found rage and basically permission to defend myself, I said fuck it. I wasn't going to start a fight, but I wanted to end.
On my way back to school, he and his friends jumped me. I ran like hell again. I didn't want him and his friends. He made the mistake of following me down one of the back hallways that day without his friends. I retaliated and smashed him in the face. Blood everywhere. I didn't want to continue it so I left quickly. No call to the office, nothing. Weird.
Him and I had a late class together. He was there, nose red as all get out. Staring at me. Half an hour into the class, he snapped. He threw his desk aside and charged at me. I grabbed my desk and smashed him with it. He staggered back, the classroom fled to the edge of the classroom and he started screaming at me. He threw a desk, I threw one back. It turned into full out war, and I wasn't stopping until I was dead or he gave in. Finally teachers had to drag us a part. We both get stuck in the VPs office together this time and the VP screaming at us. I just sat there, phased out because of the pain. Suddenly I realize that Dan is staring at me again, and no sooner than I notice, he kicks at me, in front of the VP. I punched him square in the face again. He fell, and VP dragged me out of the room.
In the end, the punishments were even more skewed. The admin team told us that if we fought again, ever, we would be expelled. But the punishment? He got 3 days for fighting. I got 2 weeks in school for retaliating. It was a few weeks before the end of school. Even once I was done, Dan didn't even look at me again.
It didn't end there though. Next two years then became a challenge for the older kids to see if they could get me. I no longer held back though, and worse yet, would start to black out with rage once I started retaliating. About 10 more good fights, going home and having vacation time because my parents believing me finally. I wasn't period of what I had to do, but happy that I wasn't bullied and punished for it anymore.
Last two years of school were great finally.
But zero tolerance creates some seriously bad situations. It's a bad idea okay? Administration, take note. Man up, stop being lazy with blanket policies and do your best to make good decisions based on situation and not on some book.
I'm glad I could resolve the conflict somehow. It wasn't good, wasn't healthy, but better than the options.
I can see how the US has so many school shootings. I never felt like that, because I found resolution, but I can see where it builds from.
Tl;Dr: Bullied in zero tolerance school. Took a beating and punishments. Finally snapped and parents backed me. Snapped and smartened up the bully, only to become target of more, which I never put up with either. Zero tolerance school is bad. Badbadbad.
Tl;Dr the tl;dr: bullied and many times punished worse than bully. Zero tolerance is bad idea.