The Zero Tolerance Policy

In a New York Times article by Lizette Alverez, there is a discussion regarding the zero tolerance policy in schools. The discussion has come to the table because of growing evidence that this policy is contributing to weaker academic performance and increased school dropout rates. In Broward County, Florida “more students were arrested here than in any other state district, the vast majority for misdemeanors like possessing marijuana or spraying graffiti.” The intent of the zero tolerance policy was to combat drug use throughout the 90s, but there has been an increasingly vocal group of people who believe students who commit minor offenses should stay in school so that the right team of education professionals can try to influence their behavior positively, rather than keeping them away from an academic institution and subsequently, allowing them to find more trouble perhaps. School police officers have also been effective in enforcing discipline. Many big cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago are also retreating from the zero tolerance policy. Students who commit misdemeanors will still be held accountable- they would just be less likely to be expelled and on the streets. If there are students who could be dangerous or commit crimes worse than misdemeanors, this new perspective would not apply. For more information please view the original article here or go back to the homepage of PatrickCapriola.org.

Disclaimer: This post serves to provide a summary of the New York Times article and does not reflect Patrick Capriola’s personal opinion on the matter.

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Patrick Capriola is a professional educator in Jacksonville, FL with over a decade of experience improving educational outcomes. He has served as a teacher, school administrator, and teacher trainer.