Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

Finally, it appears that school districts are rethinking their Zero Tolerance policies. Many of us have been arguing for years that ZT does little to reduce school violence and does great harm to the culture and content of schools. Now, according to the New York Times, cities and school districts around the country are rethinking their approach to minor offenses.

Broward Supt. Runcie
Rather than push children out of school, districts like Broward Cty, Florida, are now doing the opposite: choosing to keep lawbreaking students in school, away from trouble on the streets, and offering them counseling and other assistance aimed at changing behavior. Broward previously had the distinction of   having more students arrested on school campuses here than in any other state district, the vast majority for misdemeanors like possessing marijuana or spraying graffiti.
     “A knee-jerk reaction for minor offenses, suspending and expelling students, this is not the business we should be in,” said Robert W. Runcie, the Broward County Schools superintendent, who took the job in late 2011. “We are not accepting that we need to have hundreds of students getting arrested and getting records that impact their lifelong chances to get a job, go into the military, get financial aid.”
In Broward County, the shift has shown immediate results. School-based arrests have dropped by 41 percent, and suspensions, which in 2011 added up to 87,000 out of 258,000 students, are down 66 percent from the same period in 2012, school data shows.

Nationwide, more than 70 percent of students involved in arrests or referrals to court are black or Hispanic, according to federal data.

1 comment:

  1. End Zero-Tolerance Policies: A Reader


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