New Report about Ineffective Zero-Tolerance Policies

Association of Educators
January 8, 2014 — 1,201 views  

A zero-tolerance school discipline policy was brought into action to make sure that students are at their disciplined-best in school. However, a new research has indicated that this policy may not be giving out the exact results that it was meant to reap. The research has revealed that school safety has not increased even after almost a quarter century since the zero-tolerance discipline polices were introduced.

Ineffective Zero-Tolerance Policies

This report was released by a nonprofit organization, Vera Institute of Justice. The report mentions that these policies have very little impact on the way students behave in school. In fact, it even states that none of the studies mention that rise in expulsion and out-of-school suspension reduces the disruption caused in classrooms. Also, some evidences have suggested that these zero-tolerance policies may be having the exact opposite effect on behavior of students in schools. According to the report, instead of having any reformative effect on students, suspensions and harsh punishments can have a negative impact on them that can last life-long. They can also limit the future potential of young students.

A zero-tolerance discipline policy typically includes tough punishments and harsh penalties on students for violating the school rules involving drugs, smoking, alcohol, classroom incidents, and weapons. The National Association of School Psychologists too claimed that such policies are ineffective and even harmful to students in certain cases, like the ones dealing with behavioral problems. The report by Vela also indicated that suspensions only double the chances of students repeating a grade rather than bringing in any behavioral changes in them. Further, the report also mentioned that policies of this kind disproportionately concentrate on minority students.

Brian Smith from MLive stated that according to this report, in 2013 there were about 3 million high school graduates nationally while approximately 2 million students from secondary school were suspended.

Policies Marred by Quite a Few Problems

Also, these zero-tolerance policies are not full-proof, meaning they suffer from issues like high cost and complexities other than general ineffectiveness. Certain problems relating to these policies include racial discrimination, expulsion increment length of two or three years, or even permanent expulsion in some cases; repeated use of expulsion and suspension elevating the dropout rates in spite of the violence in school being stable or low; increasing the negative impact on the educational outcome of students with disability and lastly, inconsistency in the application of these polices.

Association of Educators