The Education System Has Long Rested On Zero Tolerance Policies

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I. Introduction
The education system in the modern, American public high school represents a pillar of upward mobility. Education has long stood as a symbol and mechanism for those of less fortunate backgrounds to put in the time and effort in order to better their social status and living conditions. And while the discussion on the education system is always seamless when concerning the opportunity provided to those students who make good grades and behave well in the classroom, the discussion becomes more disconcerting when the topic centers on the discipline of students who break the rules of society or the education system. Much like the prison system, the public school justice system has long rested on zero tolerance policies (Zehr, …show more content…

A change is needed in the education system to prevent the further degradation of minor and lower income students. Restorative justice techniques have trouble finding their way into public schools because of long standing theories regarding criminal justice, discipline, and general conflict resolution theory. Teachers and public school administrations, as well as state and federal educational policy-makers, need to find a way to incorporate restorative justice techniques into school systems as an alternate method to zero-tolerance policies (Claim #1) because restorative justice methodologies disciplines the student in an encouraging manner while also supporting a reintegration (or first time integration) of the student into the educational community (Data #1); this will cause a reduction in suspension and expulsion rates in public schools, further degrading the school-to-prison pipeline (Data #2). Students should be encouraged to draw closer to education, not further away (Warrant), and restorative justice practices would not only discipline the individual, but enhance the entire student body by fortifying the students’ emotional connection with his or her school (Backing). This is not to say restorative justice is the only method of punitive action, nor that some cases would not require zero-tolerance procedures (Qualifier #1).

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