Essay on Zero Tolerance in Schools

987 Words 4 Pages
Contemporary Issue Paper
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
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School violence has become of the most pressing educational problems in the United States. Gang violence and high profile shootings across the nation cause concern within schools. Communities struggle to understand why these events take place and how they can be prevented. The overwhelming response to solve the issue of violence in schools is the increasing societal pressure to execute zero tolerance. Zero tolerance is driven by the educational philosophy, policies, and practices of school communities. Stakeholders expect schools to be a safe place for staff and for students. Stakeholders assume that a positive classroom environment, safe students, and school enjoyment are conditions necessary to create a positive climate where learning takes place. This assumption can be backed with research. A calm classroom environment, teachers’ management of disruptive behavior, and students’ view of school safety are factors that have been found to directly correlate with student achievement in the classroom (Ma & Willms, 2004). Safety and a feeling of not being threatened during school hours have been found to be important to students’ achievement. Failure to remove a disruptive or an unruly student from school has been found to have a negative impact on achievement and creates a great risk to school staff and students (Garbarino et al., 1992). Teachers cannot teach and students cannot learn in an…