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ERIC Number: ED555794
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 140
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3034-9271-6
An Analysis of the Legal and Ethical Dimensions of Zero-Tolerance Court Decisions in K-12 Public Education
Mackey, Hollie J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Pennsylvania State University
Zero-tolerance policies have a short yet prolific history in American schools. Originally developed by the U.S. Customs Agency, zero tolerance was intended to target a rapidly growing drug trade. Most schools began adopting these policies in response to The Gun Free Schools Act of 1994. This mandate requires all state education agencies to develop a policy towards weapons that results in an expulsion of no less than one year. Coupled with this requirement is the stipulation that these policies must allow for the senior most administrators within a local education agency to have the discretion to modify the punishment on a case by case basis. Commentators have characterized zero tolerance as one of the most simplistic approaches to school discipline. However, school discipline data are notoriously challenging to analyze due to the many factors that contribute to school discipline in general. There is a lack of empirical evidence to support the claim the notion that zero-tolerance policies decrease violent incidents in schools or improve school safety. The message behind the policies clearly indicates that violence in schools is not tolerable under any circumstances; however there is no correlation between the message and the outcomes from policy implementation. Regardless of this, the American legal structure supports the application of these policies. This study examines the legal and ethical dimensions of zero-tolerance policies in an attempt to determine the degree to which U.S. courts have provided language suggesting discrepancies between the legal holding and the opinion following the decision. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Gun Free Schools Act 1994