Name Professor Subject Date Are Zero-Tolerance Rules The Best Way To Keep Schools Safe? In today’s world where violence can be seen almost everywhere and the safety of every community is at stake, we tend to find solutions and ways to ensure the safety of our family and friends…
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Thus, the zero tolerance rules. According to Ted Watchel, zero tolerance “have become commonplace in American schools in recent decades’ (par. 3). Although many people agree to the zero tolerance rule policy in schools, this does not ensure a totally safe learning environment. This policy uses a lot of money, might be too strict on the students, and might not be too affective. Further, it is unfair to some students, and some rights might be violated by this rule. A report by Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah states that Chicago Public Schools spent $51.4 million on school-based security guards in 2010, an amount which was fifteen times higher than that of the budget spent on college and career coaches (par. 2). But students say they did not feel any safer in their schools despite these disciplinary policies. Zero tolerance policies are ineffective and have even been harmful to students and school environments (Watchel, par. 2) because it is too strict, that even minor offenses such as not being in uniform or bringing cell phones in class, result to removal from school, instead of giving them second chances and the counsel and advice they need in order to realize their mistakes if they have committed any. According to Kristen Graham, a report stated that students in the Philadelphia District are “too often punished harshly for minor infractions, and suspensions, expulsions, and transfers to disciplinary school are overused” (par. 2). This is clearly against putting the students’ welfare first in terms of their behavioral development or improvement and putting their future at risk. Some students might not want to continue their studies after they are kicked out of school either because of shame or disappointment. This will also make the students feel that the school does not exude the image that they once have, which is an academic and learning institution where they have the freedom to enjoy their learning years. Watchel stated that the policy is ineffective and I totally agree with him. Watchel further stated that, “The American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force issued a report in 2008 concluding that severe punishment at schools neither reduces violence nor promotes learning. The report asserts that zero tolerance can actually increase bad behavior, lead to higher dropout rates, and increase referrals to the juvenile justice system for infractions once handled in the schools”(par. 5). This clearly proves the infectivity of the policy. Sean McCollum stated that “zero tolerance policy is getting twisted in many school districts and schools are not checking to see that the policies are even working” (par. 4). The first goal of an academic institution is to promote learning. This includes learning academically and behaviorally, which means that aside from their academic development, they are also taught the value of discipline and the sense of responsibility. This can only be done in a way that the students will have to realize, without being severely punished, their mistakes and then learn from them. By punishing them harshly for even the smallest infractions, we are further pushing them away from accepting their mistakes and thus give them reasons to feel angry and resentful. This will get in the way of their academic and learning development. In its eager campaign for a safer learning environment, the policy has become unfair in its treatment of infractions. Offenses, whether major or minor are met with almost the same punishments:
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