Zero Tolerance Disciplinary Policies Should Be Implemented At Creating Safer Educational Environments For All Students

1611 Words May 6th, 2016 7 Pages
Zero tolerance disciplinary policies were originally aimed at creating safer educational environments for all students (Kang-Brown et al., 2013). However, the implementation has led to unforeseen issues in education. These policies are often enforced using predetermined consequences that do not account for practitioners discretion based on each situation involving the student. Zero tolerance policies may cover dress code violations, talking back to faculty and staff, weapons and drug possession, and other insubordinations (Monahan et al., 2014), which result in suspension or expulsion. The American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force found that there was “a negative relationship between the use of school suspension and expulsion and school wide academic achievement” (2008, p. 854). Furthermore, students who were suspended or expelled during the 2011-2012 academic year collectively lost approximately 18 million days of academic instruction (Losen et al., 2015).
Zero tolerance policies have severe consequences for Black students, especially males. During the 2011-2012 academic year, the US Department of Education reported that 1.2 million Black students were suspended from K-12 public schools (Smith & Harper, 2015). Over 55% of the suspensions occurred within 13 Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Southern school districts were…

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