Zero Tolerance

Date: January 14, 2010

Student behind bars with police man guarding himUPDATE: MSU Study Finds Zero Tolerance Policy Ineffective

It is good to see a positive story coming from the Clayton County School District, which in recent years has been a poster child for everything wrong in public education.

A New York Times editorial applauds the Georgia school district for reining in a hard-line policy gone awry.

Hurrah for Clayton County’s leadership in becoming intolerant of zero tolerance. Zero tolerance for weapons and drugs is reasonable. Zero tolerance for lesser issues is unreasonable and strips teachers and administrators from using a treasure trove of behavioral strategies from looks to admonishment, from cajoling to the calling the parent, from detention to school service.

Hard line rules for shoving incidents and vulgar language which lead to police action not only clog the juvenile justice system, but tie the hands of teachers and administrators to do some of their best guidance and mentoring work and frequently at a poignant time in a student’s life.

Every parent, every police officer, every psychologist, teacher, social worker and minister knows that such zero tolerance policies too often lead to punishment for the forgetful, the foolish or the innocent.

Lead on Clayton County! May Birmingham, Bellingham, Bozeman and Boston follow.

Categories: Alternative Education, News
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