Essay on The Effects Of Zero Tolerance Policies On The Public School System

Essay on The Effects Of Zero Tolerance Policies On The Public School System

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The director of the CSG Justice Center, Michael Thompson said, "Anyone who wants to make students feel safer in school, improve high school graduation rates, and close the achievement gap needs to have a plan to reduce the number of youth who are suspended from school.” (U.S News). Mr. Thompson made this statement with regards to the negative effects that “zero tolerance policies” is having on the public school system. The “zero tolerance policies” were originally a war against drugs, and other major issues that school’s faced in the early 80’s. Now, instead of creating a learning and welcoming atmosphere in schools, the enforcement of “zero tolerance policies” has increased the amounts of students who are suspended and expelled each year. As a result, what has been created is a School to Prison Pipeline. This term refers to the direct contact that students are having with the justice system, with a direct link to school punishment. The growth of the School to Prison Pipeline, has become a part of the mass incarceration crisis which this country faces.
According to an analysis of the Education Department data by the Southern Poverty Law Center, “In the 1970s, keeping students out of school as a punishment was relatively rare: fewer than 4 percent of students were suspended in 1973” (Justice Policy.org). As years passed, growing concern of violence, and crime in schools gave rise to the establishment of policies in order to combat the dangerous behavior among students. This led to schools having the necessity of adopting zero tolerance policies, such as the “Gun-Free Schools Act” passed in 1994. The cracking down on zero tolerance policies has been a major point of conflict, for the fact that schools have misinterpreted their limi...


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... “school to prison pipeline. The use of “zero tolerance polices” have brought nothing good to the school system. While there’s other causes that make up the “pipeline”, they all seem to surround the idea of “zero tolerance” in schools. Higher suspension/expulsion rates, higher drop-out rates, and lower graduation rates are all a result of the policies in place. Then when students are seen as repeat offenders, administrators ask why? Well easy, humans are not born with a “how to live life manual”. Life is about learning from mistakes. Taking away their ability to make mistakes, engraves a feeling of hopelessness within a kid. Which ultimately leads them to not control their actions, if they think “I’m still going to get in trouble”. A school should not feel like a prison. This is the place where kids come to learn, and express their ideas while in a safe environment.

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