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Zero Tolerance Policies Are Too Harsh

| January 24, 2014 | 1 Comment
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DoNowRoundup

How much discipline is too much discipline? Last week, students across the nation discussed the benefits and harm behind disciplinary actions on students in school, particularly ones based on the zero tolerance policy in our #DoNowDiscipline post. We asked students Do you think that schools, teachers and administrators should change the way they discipline because of the new report on zero tolerance and new suggested guidelines? How might they punish differently? Is this a good or a bad thing?

Recently, the Obama administration announced new guidelines for punishment in school, urging schools to re-evaluate their zero tolerance policies and create ones that align with civil rights laws. Based on the zero tolerance policies, schools are allowed to issue strong punishments to rule breaking students, which may result in sending the students to court. For example, when Texas passed the policy in 1995, schools started to issue criminal citations to students for missing class, fighting, cursing and even throwing paper airplanes.

Students argued about the necessity of teaching students right from wrong, but also the importance of treating students with dignity. By the end of the week, the majority of the students agreed that the zero tolerance policies are too harsh and schools should assess a student’s situation before deciding on the punishment.

Discipline is Too Severe

Many students argued that the zero tolerance policies are too harsh for students.

No Change is Needed

Other students talked about how school punishment is important to teach students how to follow the rules.

Finding a Balance

Several students acknowledged the importance of punishment in school, but debated how far schools should go to keep students in line.

Government Needs to Stay Out of It

Some students discussed how the school should be the ones to decide the punishment and not resort to court citations.

Look at the Whole Picture

Many students argued that schools should evaluate the situation and severity of the action before issuing a punishment.

Ways We Can Change the Policies

Several students proposed different ways administrators could still teach students how to behave in school without resorting to harsh punishment.

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Category: Do Now Round-Ups

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About the Author ()

Laura Robledo studied English at UC Berkeley. When she is not reading, looking up new music, or running half marathons, she loves to explore the beautiful city of San Francisco.