States are rethinking draconian discipline policies adopted after the Columbine shootings in 1999, reports Stateline.
Now, recent outcries over arrests of elementary students and mounting evidence that zero-tolerance policies adversely impact disadvantaged students have sparked a debate over the proper balance between safety and tolerance in America’s schools. Some of the first stirrings of a possible retrenchment can be seen in three states — Indiana, Mississippi and Texas — where a handful of lawmakers are trying to reverse the trend of adopting ever-more stringent discipline policies.
. . . Highly publicized arrests in Florida and Nevada in the past two months are among dozens of examples where zero-tolerance policies have gone too far, critics say. In January, two grade-school children were arrested in Ocala, Fla., for drawing threatening stick figures in class. A 6-year-old in Florida’s Brevard County was handcuffed and removed from school for hitting his teacher and a police officer with a book. And in Nevada, Clark County School District officials recently tried to expel a student who drew a comic strip depicting the death of his teacher.
“Zero tolerance” often means “zero common sense.”