Kyle Thompson is a normal 14-year-old kid who loves playing
football and hanging out with his friends. His coach is his
biggest fan. His principal says he’d love to have an entire
school filled with students like Kyle.
So why on earth was Kyle led from school in handcuffs,
expelled from all state public schools and placed under
Because of Michigan’s so-called ‘zero-tolerance’ policy
that criminalizes our kids by turning minor issues into
Kyle’s teacher wanted to see a note he had written, and
when she playfully tried to take it from him, he tried to
hold on to it. Even though all the witness statements said
that the teacher was joking around and Kyle didn’t act
aggressively, the day ended with Kyle under arrest.
Kyle’s story exposes the injustice of Michigan’s ‘zero-
tolerance’ policies, and we're going to spark a change with
a massive petition to the state legislature.
Will you stand up for Kyle and sign the petition demanding
that Michigan reform its failed ‘zero-tolerance’ policies
that criminalize students like him for minor infractions?
Sadly, Kyle’s story is not unique. Countless young
students across the country are treated the same—and even
worse—because of a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to school
discipline that is spreading throughout the U.S.
It takes kids out of the education system and funnels them
into the criminal justice system because of a single, small
infraction. There, they can look forward to a life of
neglect and lost opportunity, as it can be impossible to
find new schools or attend college once their records are
And because of documented bias in the application of
justice, these policies often hit students of color the
hardest. In Kyle’s case, his school says it was prevented
from handling punishment differently, stating: “The issue
raised in this petition presents an opportunity for
citizens to examine ‘zero tolerance’ laws in Michigan…”
So this doesn’t have to be the end of Kyle’s story, or the
stories of thousands of students just like him. With enough
public pressure, we can push Michigan to change their ill-
conceived ‘zero-tolerance’ law and set an example for
states to prioritize educating, not imprisoning, our young
Sign the petition now calling on the Michigan Legislature
to reform zero-tolerance laws and keep students like Kyle
in school and out of jail.
Anthony for the ACLU Action team
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