In all grades of education, from kindergarten to college, there is a form of discipline known as a zero tolerance policy. While the exact wording is different from school to school, basically a zero tolerance policy means that a student is immediately suspended, asked to attend an alternative school, or expelled if they are suspected or caught doing certain things. These policies are in place to hopefully deter students from doing drugs or being violent, but the ethics behind them are questionable. Some research has shown that these policies may not even work, and other forms of discipline would be better suited to help students. The three main activities that result in the zero tolerance policy are being caught with drugs or alcohol, …show more content…
(Skager 6). These sorts of policies actually help students instead of punishing them, which is a great benefit to all students, schools, and communities. Zero tolerance policies can cause students to lose respect for teachers and all adults, and make them more likely to continue to use drugs and be involved in disruptive behavior (Mongan and Walker 234). Another issue with zero tolerance policies is the immediate one year suspension for students who bring a weapon to school. This policy started with the Gun Free Schools Act of 1994 (Boccanfuso and Kuhfeld). The zero tolerance policy for weapons immediately punishes any and all students found to have a weapon in their possession. Many schools have also punished students for pretend weapons, such as a bubble gun, or an Eagle Scout who had a pocket knife in his possession (Newcomb)(Lott). There is a huge difference between a student having a pocket knife in his car or a gun in his hand, but zero policies are meant to punish all students the same at the discretion of a school official (Boccanfuso). The kindergartener who was originally issued a 10 day suspension for what the school deemed a terrorist threat had only told a friend that they should shoot each other with her bubble gun. The bubble gun was not even in her possession. After undergoing a psychological evaluation it was determined that the student was not a threat and her suspension was shortened to
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
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).
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.
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
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
Zero-tolerance policies are school or district mandates that predetermine “consequences or punishments for specific offenses that are intended to be applied regardless of the seriousness of the behavior, mitigating circumstances, or situational context” (Position Statement 46: Zero Tolerance Policies in Schools, 2014).
In the article Zero Tolerance Laws Are Unfair the author talks about a girl who gave an ibuprofen to her friend and was suspended for “dealing drugs”. Zero-tolerance policies are to blame. Zero-tolerance policies started to become mainstream in the mid-1990’s in an effort to get students who brought either drugs, guns or alcohol to school suspended or expelled. “A zero tolerance policy is a school or district policy that 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” (Mental Health America). Since the 1990’s however, these policies have grown broader and broader to include non-violent offences, such as a student talking back to an administrator or a baseball player bringing a baseball bat to school. How is it fair that someone who gives a friend an ibuprofen receives the same punishment as someone dealing illicit drugs? School administrations need to bring their zero-tolerance back to what is federally required and lose all of the add-ons, because as zero-tolerance policies have grown to encompass the unnecessary, it is especially harmful to disabled students, students of color, and at-risk students. The growing number of suspensions and expulsions, which mean more time out of school, make it harder for those kids to graduate.
Zero tolerance was inspired by the U. S. Customs Agency in the 1980s in order to combat the very well organized and flourishing drug trade (Martinez, 2009, p. 155). With the drugs came news reports describing the increase in bloodshed that was a direct result of the illegal industry. As a result, many Americans began to worry about the ramifications of narcotics and violence on schools. That fear seemed justified when a series of random school shootings took place in various communities, towns, and cities across the United States (Triplett, Allen, & Lewis, 2014, p. 353). Media coverage of those tragic events was extremely intense and graphic which resulted in it serving as the impetus for Congress and the Clinton Administration to pass the Gun Free Schools Act in 1994 (Skiba, 2014, p. 28).
"Zero tolerance" policies are the new theme in fighting weapons and drugs in schools. These policies behind the pressure of President Clinton have been enacted in 47 states. The idea is to encourage states to get tough on youth that threaten their own safety and the safety of others. Some of the more popular measures with these policies include installing metal detectors at school entrances, the use of armed security guards to patrol and monitor students, and the automatic removal of students who break rules regarding weapons and drugs. According to the Department of Education, school districts that have enacted these policies are showing improvements in these areas. For example, Dade county public school officials seized only 110 guns in the past year from 193 the previous year after enacting a zero tolerance policy.
The safety of students is a primary concern in schools today. This encompasses safety from people on the outside and the inside of the school, including safety from other students. Ronald Reagan put forth the zero tolerance policy to punish people involved in drugs. In order to bring increased safety to schools, the zero tolerance policy began to spread its influence in education, starting with implementing gun-free schools (Walker, 2009). Since Columbine, zero tolerance policies have grown to punish students who are in possession of a firearm/weapon/anything that resembles a weapon, possession of drugs, possession of alcohol, creating or initiating
“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.
Once clearly defined, enforcing the zero tolerance policies can be relatively easy for the offenses related to illegal drugs and alcohol. These are serious threats to school safety and using common sense when applying the policies against such offenses should help. Violence on the other hand is more difficult to define at schools because it can take many forms. Under the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, in order for school