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Zero Tolerance in Schools

Zero Tolerance in Schools

Monday morning at 8:45, Mrs. Luna smiled at her sixth-grade students as they entered the classroom.
Johnny was returning to school after a weekend of camping with his dad. Johnny, the student leader for
the class that morning, was an excellent student and a friend to everyone in class. He was never a
problem, teachers loved having him in class, and students liked him.
It had been Johnny�s birthday over the weekend, and he had been given a new Leatherman OHT
multitool. He was so proud and excited! He had used the Leatherman over the weekend as often as
possible and had inadvertently stored it in his backpack during the camping trip. Unfortunately, since he
also used this backpack for his school books, he had forgotten to take it out before heading to school.
At lunchtime, as he was opening his backpack, he realized his Leatherman was still in the front zipper
pocket. He pulled it out and displayed the tool, and its amazing functions, to the other students at his
table; after all, it was his new birthday present. One of the students told the teacher on lunchroom duty
that Johnny had a knife. The teacher went straight to the principal to report the accusation. Upon
receiving the report, the principal had no choice but to search Johnny�s backpack. She found the
Leatherman, which, by school policy, was defined as a weapon. Because of the school�s zero tolerance
policy, Johnny was subsequently suspended and, after a hearing, expelled from school. Mrs. Luna was
Before preparing your response, be sure you have read these assigned readings: (I have attached)
� Unit 3 � 3.5: Can Zero Tolerance Violate Students� Rights? (Koonce, 2017)
� Hunter Spanjer, 3-Year-Old Deaf Boy, Told By Preschool To Change Way He Signs His Name (Dicker,
Reflect on these readings and compose an analysis of your perspectives by addressing the following
� What is your view of the zero tolerance policy?
� Have we taken this policy too far? Explain.
� Where would you draw the line?
� What are your options as a teacher?
� How has the zero tolerance policy changed since its original implementation? What are th

Zero Tolerance in Schools

The zero tolerance policy has been implemented since back in the 1960s to control the
behavior of students by suspension or expansion from school. To many, it is a one-time strike
that puts no consideration to any circumstances regarding breaking school rules and regulation
(Koonce, 2015). Implementing the policy has turned to be more challenging in the 21 st century
where other diplomatic ways of solving the Children-Teachers dispute.

According to me, zero tolerance as applied in the case of Hunter Spanjer is not a fair way
of dealing with moral disagreements within a school institution. Results from research conducted
by the federal government in the United States shows that the disabled are more affected by the
policy. There is no fairness or rather equality when it comes to applying the law more so in the
higher education system. For instance, history indicates that African American students in the
past have recorded a higher percentage of expulsion from school compared to the white scholars.
Therefore, zero tolerance is not the core strategy that officials should choose as a form of
punishment to the lawbreakers.
Drawing for the past case scenarios on the experience of students affected by the zero
tolerance law, it sounds correct to say that principals and the institutional leaders are going too
far by using the policy where it is not relevant. For example, suspending a three years old boy
with disabilities for having a weapon like sign can be categorized as going far beyond the pupil
rights for education (Dicker, 2012). Anyone has the freedom to use unique name initials as long
as it is acceptable by the guardians. Additionally, a signature is a symbolic representation of
one’s name should not be defined on how to appear by the school management team. Hence, the
policy is more of discriminative than finding a solution to the disagreement between teachers and
Though some of the indiscipline cases in school like weapon handling, examination
multi-practices and alcoholism deserve the zero tolerance rules; there are simple disagreements
that necessarily need dialogue to find a way out (Hoffman, 2014). The lifestyle back at home
making them prone to immorality affects most students in the 21st century. If the student’s case
is not among the highly rated crimes that put the lives of others to danger, then the policy should
not be applied. Instead, dialogue and counseling should be the guiding principle. Indeed, a line

should be drawn in between the kind of punishment given to lawbreaker that needs moral help
and those who intend to destroy the learning environment.
My opinion as an expert in the field of teaching is that zero tolerance is of no help in the
education system anymore. Disciplinary measures have changed from time to time with students
in the 21 st century becoming less tolerance to hard punishments in schools (Hoffman, 2014). The
emergence of private institutions where children are treated with extra care has also contributed
to the distinguishing the impact of the policy.
People have also familiarized with their human rights at every stage of life to help them
stay protected from the unfairness of officials. Therefore, many schools are no longer taking into
consideration zero tolerance rules as part of the regulation governing the institution. Ultimately,
its benefit since implementation has been the ability to reduce alcoholism and violence in
schools. However, it remains to be irrelevant as only a meager percentage of pupils get affected
every year.



Dicker, R. (2012). Hunter Spanjer, 3-Year- Old Deaf Boy, Told By Preschool To Change Way

He Signs His Name.

Hoffman, S. (2014). Zero benefits: Estimating the effect of zero tolerance discipline policies on
racial disparities in school discipline. Educational Policy, 28(1), 69-95.
Koonce, G. L. (Ed.). (2015). Taking sides: Clashing views on educational issues. McGraw-Hill

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