Overview Since the late 1980s, American school systems have been focused on using zero tolerance policies to remove supposed threats to schools from the education system. Zero tolerance policies present a large problem; they remove due process from the discipline process and by doing so violates the rights to a fair trial. Is this the purpose of the education system in America to punish students and potentially ruin futures or to nurture and improve the potential of students’ lives? While zero tolerance policies do treat all offenders as equal at the time of the infraction, it often fails to examine the full picture. My thesis is that zero tolerance policies in school punish many innocent people who were left with no other option than to defend themselves or give up their lives.
Purpose Statement The purpose of this research is to examine the usage of zero tolerance policies by schools to circumvent due process and expel students without taking into consideration the chain of events that lead to up the case. Many occasions of physical, verbal, or mental violence zero tolerance policies both parties involved receive punishment even in the cases of a victim standing up to a bully. In cases of a weapon related zero tolerance, there are instances of kindergarten children receiving expulsion and losing a whole year of education for just saying bang or holding their hand in the shape of a gun. Zero tolerance policies do not allow the administration to implement more successful
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.
Zero-tolerance policies developed to prevent drug abuse and violence in school in 1990 in the U.S. Even if those behaviors or small things minor offenses were done by accident or unconsciously, students get prosecuted and sent into the juvenile justice system as a punishment. Schools create disciplines for suspending and expelling students when they break certain rules. For example, if a student brings a weapon to school, including items that may not hurt anyone like nail clippers and toy guns, if a student has drugs, including medications or alcohol on campus, if a student says anything that someone could get as a threat, if a student does not obey teacher’s instruction, if a student fights with other students, the student would be given punishment with no choice. After adopting this policy, the number of school suspensions and dismissals increased, and the number of students who send into the prison also increased as well. Therefore, the school to prison pipeline became an issue in the education system.
They are given complete discretion on how they want to implement rules in their district. School safety is one of the main reasons for adopting a zero tolerance of violence policy and educational leaders are focused on handling these types of situations with safety in mind. Moreover, this was the basis for which the nine students were punished. Regardless of the reasons students become involved in negative situations, they may be held responsible and face the consequences of their actions. That is, students may still be disciplined in spite of their motives. In this regard, the zero tolerance of violence policy does not preclude making decisions about student intent and motivation of individual students. Conversely, students are allowed their due process rights, where they are able to dispute any accusations or problems they have with the decisions made against
The school-to-prison pipeline in the United States is a figure of speech used to describe the increasing patterns of interaction students have with the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems as a consequence of procedures used by many school systems. A specific procedure would be the zero tolerance policies and the use of officers in schools. Currently in today’s American schools many children of color are being unfairly judged and treated by the public school systems zero tolerance policies. Zero tolerance policies have been implemented in schools in the last 20 years that include inserting school resource officers in schools and cracking down on all behavior that any authority figure may deem as a form of bad behavior. The policy is based upon deterring future misbehavior and is central to the philosophy of zero tolerance, and the effect of any punishment on future behavior is what defines effective punishment (Skinner, 1953). Zero tolerance policies causes the school environment to feel more like a prison and ultimately leads to black and Latinos being judged and guided to the prison system. A zero-tolerance policy orders predetermined penalties or punishments for specific wrongdoings.
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.
Zero tolerance started as a way to keep guns out of schools until the staff at school started to use it as a way to report and punish non serious offences (Heitzeg, 2009).
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”
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
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
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.
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.
According to Lawyers.com, a zero-tolerance policy developed in 1990s as the federal government passed the Gun-Free Schools Act, which demands schools to expel anyone who has a gun in the campus for the security. While the “broken windows” laws became popular at that time, schools start enacting disciplinary policies that were even further than the federal law. These policies were different from school to school, but the main point is that it required suspending or expelling students for various reasons, such as; bringing any weapons to school, including nail clippers and toy swords and some disruptive behaviors like threatening other students, fighting, being rude to teachers and cutting a lunch line. Zero tolerance policies are mainly showed by each school systems as possible
According to Lawyers.com, a zero-tolerance policy was developed in 1990s as the federal government passed the “Gun-Free Schools Acts”, which demands schools to expel anyone who has a gun in the campus for the security. While the “broken window” laws became popular at that time, schools started enacting disciplinary policies that were even further than the federal law. These policies were different in each school systems, but the main point is that it required suspending or expelling students for various reasons, such as; bringing any weapons to school, including nail clippers and toy swords and some disruptive behaviors like threatening other students, fighting, being rude to teachers and cutting a lunch line. Zero tolerance policies are mainly showed by each school systems as possible