The Impact of Zero Tolerance Policies

1392 Words6 Pages
The zero tolerance policies that date back to the mid-1990’s originally targeted issues such as drugs and weapons. Over time, schools have broadened their list of punishable offenses, creating more disciplinary issues. These policies in public schools enforce punishment, in the form of expulsion or suspension, on students in response to certain rule violations. The goal of these policies is to promote the safety of all students and staff. If rules are broken, students are punished without exceptions. I oppose the zero tolerance policy in public schools because of its lack of leniency and rationalization. I believe schools should alter consequences based each individual situation. To support my argument, I will be discussing the issues, consequences and alternatives related to zero tolerance policies. Concerns: Why zero tolerance is unjust. The biggest issue with zero tolerance in schools is that these policies treat every individual equally, regardless of their age, intent, history of behavior, or specific needs. This is dangerous because children can be held responsible for crimes that they had no intention of committing. Everyone is punished severely if they make a mistake, despite the fact that they might not being at fault. For instance, a victim of bullying may be given the same punishment as the bully while trying to fight back in an act of self defense. Under a zero tolerance policy, both the bully and the victim will be punished because violence is impermissible according to the school rules. This shows that there really is no tolerance with violence. Children are punished regardless of the reason why they acted a certain way. Another fault with these policies is that they do not take age into account. In the past, studen... ... middle of paper ... ... with disabilities, children who may or may not have the understanding of why they are being punished. I am in favor of alternatives such as practices that promote topics such as cultural/racial sensitivity, impacts of drugs and alcohol, violence and more. The awareness of these issues ensures that students differentiate right from wrong. Parental involvement in school activities along with support from health experts is also a way to reduce misbehavior. To target the reason why children are acting out and helping them resolve their problems decreases the risk of the child misbehaving again. While the intention for zero tolerance policies is well, the strict methods being used are not only unfair, but ineffective as well. Using other ways to target rule violations will create a healthy and secure school environment, making a child's learning experience successful.
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