Zero Tolerance Policies Are Strict Rules Essay

1357 Words Nov 29th, 2016 6 Pages
Zero tolerance policies are strict rules placed in schools to dictate pre-determined consequences for certain infractions involving violence and drugs. Offenses such as bringing a weapon to school or drug possession are to be punished with suspension or even expulsion. The purpose of these policies was to remove some of the discretion schools had over student discipline and in turn combat racism in the administration. Recently, zero tolerance policies have come under fire as more and more children are punished for innocent mistakes. Unfortunately, these students are the outliers as these policies affect many Black and Latino children in poor communities. By examining the emergence of zero tolerance policies and the effects of suspensions on students, the weaknesses of zero tolerance schooling become apparent. Rather than adopting tougher policies from charter schools (a noticeable trend seen in urban public schools), I propose re-educating and recouple teaching with discipline.
The centralization of discipline in education began in the 1960s, when community members hoped to gain more control over the education of their children and began the movement to decouple education from discipline in schools. To combat discriminatory disciplinary practices, “organizations like the Children’s Defense Fund even began promoting centralized discipline codes…[to] ensur[e] that all children were treated equally,” (Kafka, 2011, p. 121). These policies were meant to remove power from the…

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