Zero Tolerance Definition

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Zero tolerance has become a cornerstone of the American educational system. Today, practically every school district, both public and private, use this policy as the dogma upon which all forms of discipline are enforced. Within this country there are many educators, administrators, community leaders, and parents who deem zero tolerance as being unequivocally needed so that control over the student body can be maintained within the school building. They believe that having a set of punishments in place improves discipline as well as the education of the children. Conversely, there appears to be just as many adults that do not agree with the use of zero tolerance. These individuals think that zero tolerance is too harsh and may in fact unfairly target certain groups of students. This debate between the two groups is the foundation of this literature review concerning zero tolerance and will serve as the catalyst for the …show more content…
“The U. S. Customs Agency [initially] developed zero tolerance in the 1980s [in order] to target the booming drug trade” (Martinez, 2009, p. 155). As the decade ended and the 1990s emerged, many people within this country came to believe that all school systems (rural, urban, and suburban) were no longer secure due to the growing influence of drugs and violence. This perception was further reinforced because it was “during this time [period that] the nation witnessed a series of widely publicized school shootings in relatively unfamiliar places [across the United States]” (Triplett, Allen, & Lewis, 2014, p. 353). Because of these horrendous incidents, zero tolerance was created by the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 which “was a sweeping attempt to take back control of schools and provide districts with the power to increase social control in order to prevent violence” (Mongan & Walker, 2012, p.