Americans typically prefer rules that are very specific, but not meant to be followed to the letter. Nevertheless, recently in response to a lot of complaints about inconsistencies in disciplining misbehaving students, many American school systems have started adopting strict zero tolerance policies.
These policies typically state that any student committing a wrongdoing will receive the same pre-determined punishment, no matter what the specifics of his/her offense are.
Schools have had quite a bit of trouble implementing these policies, and statistics have shown that the rigid rules have actually led to elevated dropout rates and an increasing number of suspensions. This is largely because American students are used to having a little “wiggle room,” and weren’t accustomed to the strict enforcement policy.
Wiggle room – permission to slightly bend a couple of rules, as long as most of the rules are followed.