ERIC Number: ED451579
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Zero Tolerance Policies. ERIC Digest Number 146.
State legislatures and school boards are adopting a growing number of zero-tolerance polices toward weapons, guns, and violence. Zero-tolerance polices are rules intended to address specific school-safety issues. They have arisen in part as a response to the threat of the withdrawal of federal funds under the 1994 Gun-Free Schools Act, and pressure to address school violence created by extensive media coverage of incidents during the 1990s. The National Center for Education Statistics found that after 4 years, zero-tolerance polices had little effect on previously unsafe schools. Positive results are reported by some schools, including Henry Foss Senior High School in Tacoma (WA), and the Lower Camden Country Regional High School District in New Jersey. Critics of zero tolerance argue that such polices worsen problems in the long term by excluding at-risk students and increasing dropout rates. They also charge that the policies are inconsistently applied and interpreted. Effective zero-tolerance policies must specify consequences; allow flexibility; consider alternatives to expulsion; clearly define weapons, drugs, and inappropriate acts; involve the collaboration of all stakeholders; build on lessons from early programs; integrate health-education programs; tailor policies to local needs; and implement regular program reviews. Sound policies must allow for discretion, incorporate a range of sanctions that appropriately reflect incident severity, direct expelled students to counseling, and be developed as part of broader policies for school safety. (Contains 12 references.) (TEJ)
Descriptors: Crisis Management, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Expulsion, Guns, Police School Relationship, Sanctions, School Safety, School Security, Suspension, Violence, Weapons, Zero Tolerance Policy
ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management, 5207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-5207. Tel: 800-438-8841 (Toll Free); Fax: 541-346-2334; Web site: http://eric.uoregon.edu.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management, Eugene, OR.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Gun Free Schools Act 1994