Zero Tolerance In School

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Pages: 7

Zero Tolerance policies within public schools has brought severe and unjust punishments for students; these policies need to be reformed or replaced with other policies that will ensure just punishments, promote self-defense, encourage appropriate behavior, independence, and guarantee the safety of the school. These policies most often pertain to the possession of drugs and weapons to violence within schools. The policies are in place to create a better image for the school, but serves harsh punishments to students and victims of violence. The policies are similar to that of Zero tolerance in prisons, thus creating a similar atmosphere within public schools. These policies also punish victims of violence, even if the victim does not defend …show more content…
Zero tolerance polices not only hold authority over violence, but also for possession of weapons, drugs, and other contraband. While it is rational to have zero tolerance for many items under these categories, such as firearms or class A narcotics, the policies in place are ambiguous and provide no clear definition for what is exactly a weapon or a drug. A student that brings a water gun or toe nail clippers to school is liable to being expelled for possessing a weapon. Similarly a student that brings cough drops or aspirin to school can receive the same punishment for drug possession. These items could hardly bring harm to anyone and there is no investigation into whether there was intent on using these items harmfully. There may be times where a student accidently brings a pocket knife or box cutter to school but still receive the same punishment as a person bringing a gun. Even if the student realizes they accidently brought such an item and notify a person of authority, the person of authority is required to punish the student. On a personal anecdote at west plains high school, a student found a can of mace on school grounds; He proceeded to turn in the item to a teacher. The student was then reported and suspended from school because he was considered to be in possession of a weapon. The majority of the cases are often left for law enforcement to solve instead of the school. This can have a negative impact on many students, as both parties will receive a juvenile record or, depending on age, a criminal record. Zero tolerance’s strict punishments for any category of infraction does not allow for a proper judgment based on the situation or context of a