Should They Stay or Should They Go?: A Look at Zero-Tolerance Policies in Schools

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Who hasn’t heard of the Columbine shooting, where in the spring of 1999 in Littleton, Colorado over a dozen people where killed and many others were wounded at the hands of two students? Or even more recently, who does not know about the Virginia Tech massacre where a single student killed thirty-two people and wounded over twenty more? University of Texas, California State University, San Diego State University, the list of school violence is long and heart-breaking. Students and teachers have lost their lives by the dozens to gunmen that carried a grudge for some reason or another. These are extreme cases, for sure, and there is without a doubt a need for discipline in schools every where. However, zero-tolerance policies are not the answer to school discipline unless they can be reformed to have fewer gray areas and kept from being too strict, be less disruptive to the education process and allow teachers to keep their voices, and figure out how to correct claims of racial discrimination, regardless of claims that they are effective. There have been many cases where zero-tolerance has gray areas and can be too strict. In “Zero Tolerance for School Violence: Is Mandatory Punishment in Schools Unfair?” Kathy Koch, an assistant managing editor, specializing in education and social-policy issues writes: “On a school bus last fall in rural Mississippi, five high school students passed the time on the long ride home by tossing peanuts at each other. But the fun ended when the driver got hit. She pulled over, called the police and had the boys arrested for assault, punishable by five years in prison. The criminal charges were soon dropped, but the teenagers were suspended and lost their bus privileges. Unable to make the 30-mile ... ... middle of paper ... ...nt. If children are raised in such erroneous ways, how can the world expect them to have a bright future? Each case should not be judged by the color of one’s skin, but individually, regarding the facts at hand. Well intended or not, zero-tolerance policies have some changing to do. Works Cited Koch, Kathy. "Zero Tolerance for School Violence: Is Mandatory Punishment in Schools Unfair?" CQ Researcher Online 10.9 10 Mar. 2000. 185-208. CQ Press. Web. 4 Nov 2011. Billitteri, Thomas. "Discipline in Schools: Are Zero-Tolerance Policies Fair?" CQ Researcher Online 18.7 15 Feb. 2008. 148-168. CQ Press. Web. 4 Nov 2011. Rachel, et al., "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2007," National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, and Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, December 2007, Web. 4 Nov. 2011.

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