Zero tolerance policies arose during the late 1980’s in response to a rising tide of juvenile arrests for violent offenses and the expanding view of youth as dangerous. During this time discipline in educational settings became much more formal and rigid. Discretion was removed from teachers and administrative staff in favor of broadly instituted policies, which often involved law enforcement and arrest. In 1994 Congress passed the Gun-Free Schools Act, which forced states to pass laws mandating expulsion for a minimum of one year for bringing a weapon to school in order to receive federal education funds. By the mid 90’s roughly 80% of schools had adopted zero tolerance policies beyond the federal requirements and in response the federal government began to increase funding for security guards and other school based law enforcement officers and equipment. These changes occurred primarily between 1996 and 2008 and mirrored changes in the juvenile justice system to more closely emulate the adult system.
The school to prison pipeline continues to be one of the huge issues in an education system. In 1990s, zero-tolerance policies, which is “a strict enforcement of regulations and bans against undesirable behaviors or possession of items” (“zero”), have been adopted in various education system in the U.S. The purpose of these zero-tolerance policies was to prevent minor crimes that could become serious crimes, such as violation, murder, negligence, terrorism and more. Thus, many students get prosecuted and sent into the juvenile justice system because of this policy. Under this circumstance, schools should accept exception and consider the reason why they broke the rule. Also, students should not be given heavy punishments
Zero tolerance policies are the catalyst for the School-to-Prison pipeline. The problem with zero tolerance policies rely on several different factors. Even though, the vision for zero tolerance policies is clear in the sense that safety is a main priority, A ten year study of zero tolerance policies conducted by the American Psychological Association concluded that the use of these overly harsh policies "did not improve school safety." Since these policies are not increasing school safety it is a clear indicator that change in disciplinary methods is necessary. Additionally, these overly harsh policies create racial disparities mainly focused on minorities. The reason for these racial disparities particularly arise from implicit bias. Unfortunately, student of color and minorities are disportionately represented in suspensions, expulsions, and arrests. Exclusionary discipline principles disproportionately lead the youth, particularly minorities, from classrooms to court and prisons. Racial disparities within school’s disciplinary actions is clear when looking at discipline rates. The Civil Rights Data Collection, gathered by the US Department of Education, graphed suspension rates and disparities in a national test sample during 2012. Figure 1 portrays the ratio of white students that constitute for a little more than half of students enrolled in school while black and hispanic students constitute for less than
In the most recent years, the relationship between educational institutions and the juvenile justice system which was once created to protect children, has displayed an ultimatum for minors through “zero tolerance” policies which results in sending individuals through the school to prison to pipeline. Studies have shown that these zero tolerance policies are not beneficial to students or the educational environment that should be guaranteed to children. Opponents argue that the policies promote safety, but through this research it can be concluded the policies actually increase danger. Studies demonstrate the factors that affect the enforcement of these policies which include media, the sociopolitical atmosphere, and the racial disproportionality, yet there are valid solutions for this issue that can be explored.
With the creation of the zero tolerance policy, it changed the way student are being disciplined. In the 1990’s, in fear of the increasing crime rate, The United States Congress created a law that allowed public schools to enforce strict disciplinary policies for misbehaving students (Mental Health America). The zero tolerance policy states: “[the policy] mandates predetermined consequences or punishments for specific offenses that are intended to be applied regardless of the seriousness of the behavior, mitigating circumstances, or situational context”
Based on the research, the context of “zero tolerance” policies has been examined. Furthermore, this study identifies whether these policies have essentially created effective solutions or merely increased problems for institutions and children.
The term “zero tolerance” emerged from the get-tough rhetoric surrounding the war on drugs (McNeal, 2016). In the 1990’s, the term moved to into the educational vernacular due to a mass fear of violence in schools, particularly in reference to firearms. The Gun Free Schools Act of 1994, solidified the implementation of these get-tough policies (McNeal, 2016) and by 1998, the rehabilitative behavioral processes on most campuses across the country were replaced with zero tolerance policies (Rodríguez, 2017). Although they were implemented to combat school violence, school related deaths, despite the perception, have actually decreased since the 1990s (Welch & Payne, 2010). However, zero tolerance policies are still becoming more and more prevalent in schools. These policies have
Rebecca London, a research professor at UC Santa Cruz, explains about how the zero tolerance policy plays a critical role in developing the school-to-prison pipeline. The zero tolerance policy was implemented in 1990 in hopes to reduce the amount of criminal related activity in schools (London 2017). Because of the policy, many minor or small infringement of the school rules criminalized at-risk students. For example, students were punished heavily for carrying nail clippers, having over the counter medications, and even cutting the lunch line (London 2017). Students who partake in any of the examples or anything similar will be suspended or face tougher consequences than normal discipline actions compared to a privileged school. By punishing
Even though the public education field is determined to end violence in schools, the continuing pressure of the negative effects of zero-tolerance policy engulfs students’ records undesirably. More than three decades have passed and zero-tolerance approaches in schools have failed. Whereas cases should be judged on an individual basis, zero-tolerance policy negatively affects the relationship of education with juvenile justice given that zero-tolerance policies do not accommodate adolescent development.
One of the problems that have been created by the implementation of the zero tolerance policies is the elimination of common sense when determining punishment for non-threatening and non-violent offenses. Administrators have stopped considering the intent of an action or the circumstances of the event. The Lindsay Brown case is a good example of how school administrators have stopped utilizing common sense when a violation has occurred. Lindsey Brown was a high school student that was in the process of moving and had several boxes in her car from the move when she went to school the next day. One of the boxes containing some kitchen items fell over in her car while she was driving; Lindsey parked her car and went to class. The school security officer noticed a knife on the floor of Lindsey’s car while she was in class.
We watched videos and read articles about the problems in the school system and the suspension rates. The first two video was about students being suspended and having their education taken away because of the zero tolerance policy. The zero tolerance policy is a school or district policy that mandates predetermination consequences or punishments for specific offences that are intended to be applied regardless of the seriousness of behavior.
“Zero-Tolerance Policy” is the leading cause of most disobedient students, the reason why most students drop out of school and the cause of insubordination among students. The Zero-Tolerance Policy is a policy that, like the name states, has zero-tolerance for anything. Anything seen as a threat or anything that sends an inappropriate message towards the community is considered bad and the student could get arrested, suspended and/or expelled. The Zero-Tolerance policy applies to any student, regardless if a student has any health problems and falls to any student between the ages of 4-18. It could also apply to a student who could have the lowest amount of infractions possible. They say that removing students is necessary for learning, but, in doing that, they hurt the student as well. Some places don’t provide alternative places for students to learn at, really taking away their education. If it really ensures a safe and orderly environment for children, then there should be proof. There is no actual proof that it makes students feel safer (Wahl, "School Zero Tolerance Policies Do Harm" par. 1). It alienates the student and makes the student feel as if they are the “odd-one out”. Due to the injustices that this creates, the Zero-Tolerance Policy is ineffective, because it teaches students injustice, lowers students academic rates and minor offences are punished.
The zero tolerance policy has become a national controversy in regards to the solid proven facts that it criminalizes children and seems to catch kids who have no intention of doing harm. Although, there has been substantial evidence to prove that the policies enforced in many schools have gone far beyond the extreme to convict children of their wrongdoing. The punishments for the act of misconduct have reached a devastating high, and have pointed students in the wrong direction. Despite the opinions of administrators and parents, as well as evidence that zero tolerance policies have deterred violence in many public and private schools, the rules of conviction and punishment are unreasonable and should be modified.
Zero tolerance has become the latest contemporary educational issue for the Christian school leader. Zero tolerance policies mandate predetermined consequences for specific offenses. According to a government study, more than three quarters of all U.S. schools reported having zero tolerance policies (Holloway, 2002). Systematic guidelines of enforcing zero tolerance require educational leaders to impose a predetermined punishment, regardless of individual culpability or extenuating circumstances (Gorman & Pauken, 2003). Ethical decision making and the opportunity to apply Biblical principles have taken a back seat to reactive discipline by school leaders. Societal expectations have forced proactive educational
Each student would be evaluated based on their record, where and when the incident occurred, and what the circumstances were surrounding the incident. If a student was relatively good kid with no past disciplinary action history, the school management was much more likely to have a punishment that actually taught him or her something. But times changed and education environment in public schools also changed considerably in recent years. Zero tolerance policies are concerning issues that are thought to be extremely dangerous in today’s society. The three main focuses of these policies are incidences of violence, illegal drugs, and alcohol. Zero tolerance treats children as if they were adults and takes away the ‘innocence of a child’ philosophy. This strategy could be extremely safe to the lives of the good students and everything happens by treating all offenses dealing with the aforementioned issues as well as all students equally whether the student has had a flawless record or not.