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 …show more content…
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
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Violence in society is increasing dramatically and not only is it out in the streets, but it’s in the school systems as well. However, school violence has been becoming more and more of a problem all over the nation in the past several years. School violence needs to stop because no one should be afraid to go to school without feeling like it’ll be their last day.
A trend has developed in our society in recent decades. This concerning trend shows that African American youth are finding their way into the criminal justice system at a much higher rate than their peers. This trend starts in schools where students as young as fifth graders are being suspended from school for minor issues. Police officers are being used more and more to handle situations in the schools rather than teachers. Does this kind of discipline really help students of color or does it have the opposite effect? When taken out of school for disciplinary reasons, African American student’s behaviors do not improve but criminal activity is more likely. School
Sometimes, the SROs programs have negative impacts on student’s life. Before, student misconduct was held by the teachers, but now it is controlled by the law enforcement in school (Beger 2002). For example, “five students were suspended and charged with crime for tossing peanuts at each other on a school bus” (Beger 2002:123). Schools have accepted the strict and high-security measures to protect students, but would result in diminishing the rights of students (Beger 2002). Students are searched without suspicion, especially the minority communities (Beger 2002). The unreasonable searches diminish the rights of students, which protect them from unreasonable search under the Charter of Rights and Freedom. It is clear that police in schools may impact negatively if the police officers conduct an unreasonable search based on class, racism, and gender. The result of zero tolerance in school leads more students’ school-to-prison pipeline, which results in more youth in prison. The zero-tolerance policy accepted in school to expel any students who involved in any illegal or misconduct behavior (Beger 2002). However, if the students feel that the police in schools and rules of school are fair and just, then eventually students will follow the rules and provide safer school surroundings (Beger 2002:127). Because the main reason of SRO is to prevent the drug issue, violence, shooting, threat, and maintaining law in school.
When using expulsion and suspension the school administrators are excluding students from educational instruction, which is contradictory to the mission of education. In addition, when further behavior incidents were added to school districts' zero-tolerance policies, it gave permission to school administrators to apply suspensions more frequently and freely. If zero-tolerance were truly an effective deterrent, then it would be an expected reduction in the use of suspension, but in reality, there has been an increase in the use of suspension. Drug policy organizations like the Drug Policy Alliance supports replacing failed zero tolerance policies with honest, reality-based drug education and programs. Recommended Changes As mentioned before the Drug Policy Alliance wants to do away with the zero tolerance policy and offer reality-based drug education. The reality-based model is described as including education, intervention/assistance, and restorative
This study examines the effect zero-tolerance policies have on minority girls in public and private school districts. The zero-tolerance policies intended to protect students, faculty, and staff have unintended negative consequences due to overuse or abuse of the policies. According to the literature, some schools use the policy as social control over minor incidents as a reason to expel or suspend students unnecessarily. Many causes of the overuse stem from federal funding needed for things such as academic performances. The purpose of this research is to bridge the gap in knowledge and show how strict zero-tolerance policies can have unintentional life-changing consequences. This is important because some incidents can be handled at the school
Fields and Emshwiller authors of “Policing the Halls: For More Teens, Arrests Replace School Discipline” report “In 2012 92,000 students were subject to school-related arrests” (Fields and Emshwiller A.1). Zero tolerance policies are a strict set of rules that certain school districts are starting to follow regarding weapons, drugs and more. These policies are relating to an extreme amount of juvenile arrests. Some argue that these rules are too strict because teens and kids are getting unreasonable charges. Another issue people have against this policy is that the principal and other school administrators are not involved with punishments. Some schools believe this policy is
Traditional schools have heavily relied on traditional disciplinary practices, specifically zero tolerance policies in an attempt to control student behavior while creating a safe environment for students and staff. However, according to the American Psychological Association’s Zero Tolerance task Force Report (2008), zero tolerance policies have not achieved the intended goal of creating an effective school discipline
Many have researched to see if zero tolerance policies actually work. When looking at these policies we have to recognize the tough decisions made by teachers and school administers when it comes to school violence, but it is important to recognize the gaps that exist within these policies that negatively affect students and their communities. It is true that these policies aim to protect against intra-school violence, but the truth is that these policies often work in major punishment for trivial offences (Skiba and Knesting 2001). The implementation of these policies has become civil rights issues for both sides of the political spectrum, organizations like the ACLU and the Rutherford Institute have both criticized the policies and have defended students who are being negatively affected by this era of discipline. Still, defenders of the policy believe this will still be the one cure all for the growing trend in violence across America. Even though it is a common belief about zero tolerance, it has been around for a couple of decades now and the evidence does not support the common belief. With the question of: do zero tolerance policies make schools safer? The answer is not necessarily. There is this common misconception that booting “problem” students benefit the school. But it has been tested that with the increase of zero tolerance discipline such as suspension and expulsion does
The zero tolerance policy has no place in the school system because it has damaged students academically by being directly related to the dropout rate, discriminating against the minority groups, and stripping away students right to privacy and speech. As shown in this article, many students have been affected by this policy. The zero tolerance policy neglects to address the students who are struggling in school. If a student is suspended from school, their is a likely chance he or she will not receive academic help after the fact. This may cause students to become unmotivated and dropout. Furthermore, many of the other complaints about this policy is it is unfair to the minority groups and the students with learning disabilities because they
During the past decade, school safety has been at the forefront of many school districts safety polices and plans. With recent high profile school shootings, the question school districts continue to ask is how do we keep our schools safe? Administrators face heavy scrutiny when weighing approaches to school safety and student discipline. Likewise, school employees have the right to work in safe environments devoid of life-threatening behaviors (Fenning and Bohanon, 2006; Skiba and Rausch, 2006). America’s founding fathers understood the importance of a public school education. They believed educating its citizens would allow them the opportunity to learn new skills while becoming successful and productive people in society. However, our founding fathers did not predict the severe behavior changes our schools face in educating disruptive and dangerous students. America’s school districts are charged with providing solutions for disruptive and dangerous students (Fenning and Bohanon, 2006; Skiba and Rausch, 2006). School officials must address these issues with research-based interventions and collaborative resources that provide a safe learning environment for all stakeholders (Elliott and Mihalic, 2004; Schoenwald and Hoagwood, 2001). Boards of education continue to support school efforts to rethink best practices for disciplinary alternative middle schools (DAMS). Many school districts focus on research-based interventions and resources that manage aggression and
The role of zero tolerance has a broad impact on student life. The zero-tolerance policy began in the late 1980s in schools with the power to expel any students (Beger 2002). Before, teachers and school authority used to handle the situation and provide punishment. Today, schools accepted the SRO programs to control misconduct and illegal acts on school property. The reason behind the increase of use SROs approach is due to the drug issue, violent, and shooting at schools. However, if the students feel that the police in schools and rules of school are fair and just, then eventually students will follow the rules and provide safer school surroundings (Beger 2002).
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.
School violence has increased dramatically over the years and it is an important topic that should be discussed with teachers, peers, and parents. I believe that schools do a decent job addressing this topic to their students, but they could still do better to help decrease this issue. Even though I feel relatively safe within my school, there are a few concerns that arise with the climate of safety at my school. The outdoor campus of my school decreases its safety because people can easily enter the campus from almost any area. However, I do not feel threatened in any way at my school. I think that school life reflects the attitudes of society at large because the environment in which the students are brought up in affect how they behave in school. For example, if a student has violent parents, then the student will most likely also
Policies, at micro, mezzo, and macro levels, affect our schools and students every day and constitute the foundation of educational standards in North American schools; to say that students are unaffected on a micro level would be dismissive, ignorant, and narrow minded. Additionally, disregarding existing policies and practices in educational institutions and their potential interactions and effects with new policies and practices would be a grievous oversight in the decision-making process. Zero tolerance in schools was initially defined as “consistently enforced suspension and expulsion policies in response to weapons, drugs and violent acts in the school setting” (NASP, 2001); if anything, maintaining the safety or well-being of its students is a responsibility of the school and school district and a honorable goal to set. However, these policies have been broadened to include any rule infraction, more or less, regardless of mistakes, ignorance, or extenuating circumstances. With a broad policy like zero tolerance in schools comes a broad range of intended and unintended consequences; these consequences can be positive, negative, and possibly even affect the policy’s actual or perceived effectiveness.
In some school districts, Zero Tolerance has slowly become synonymous with "we don't want to put up with any sort of nonsense." Such policies impose severe consequences for violations and, in some cases; this is doing more harm than good. Here are just a few reasons why zero tolerance policies don’t work.