Zero Tolerance

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Zero Tolerance Looking back on my own educational experience the words, “zero tolerance” vaguely strike a chord. If I am not mistaken I believe that our district adopted the zero tolerance policy between my junior and senior year (96/97-97/98 respectfully) as a means to hinder bullying/violence among the students. As I consider my years in high school I do not recall violence being a normal occurrence, with the exception of your random argument turned, “meet me at short stop,” dispute, nor do I remember drugs being a large concern among parents and/or school personnel. Perhaps I was naïve or maybe it turns out that it just wasn’t something to be considered a problem. There is an exception to every rule; however, I trust that during my high school career violence and drug abuse and its distribution was not the norm… Following the Columbine tragedy in 1999, “school systems across the nation introduced the zero-tolerance policies aimed at the curtailment of harmful student behaviors” (Noll, 2014, p. 295). The original focus of the policies was to eliminate the use/carrying of weapons but soon after spread to restricting drugs and medication (2014). By 2006 95% of the U.S. public schools had adopted the zero-tolerance policies and more than half of them reported taking significant action against students, many of which resulted in expulsion (2014). While the zero-tolerance polices were originally welcomed by all members of a community as a means of promoting and keeping a safer environment-- as of late many individuals are questioning the relevance of some actions and some school officials (2014). What originally set out to be a policy deemed to create a safer environment in our schools has communities now taking part in what many ... ... middle of paper ... ...r society has come too. I feel saddened that violence and drugs are so prevalent that the most innocent of acts—eating a Pop-tart into the shape of a gun—is considered criminal. I feel blessed to have been raised during simpler times when sneaking out and tee-peeing the neighbor was the biggest concern that your parent had and at the same time I am sad at the things my own children will face as our society continues to change. I pray that we find the grey area in order to all of our students and children a service and to put reinstate the purpose behind the zero-tolerance policy. References: Jensen, R. (2013). Nebraska school officials want boy named ‘Hunter’ to change his name. Retrieved from Noll, J. W. (2014). Taking sides (17th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
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