Schools are rethinking zero tolerance

More schools are rethinking zero tolerance policies, reports the Washington Post.

In Delaware, for example, zero-tolerance cases were a repeated issue in the Christina School District, where a 6-year-old with a camping utensil that included a knife was suspended in 2009. Discipline procedures were revamped last year, giving administrators the discretion to consider a student’s intent and grade, as well as the risk of harm. Out-of-school suspensions in the state’s largest school system fell by one-third in a year.

Researchers have found no evidence that zero-tolerance policies keep schools safer, according to a 2008 article in the American Psychological Association journal.

Discretion! What a radical idea! Maybe that 12-year girl with a couple of Advil isn’t a drug dealer in the making.

As Instapundit puts it: About freaking time.

About Joanne


  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    “no evidence….” Somebody in the ed biz is interested in evidence?????

    The problem with discretion is that the first five letters match the first five letters in discrimination. Probably a connection there.

    You let one of the younger Brady Bunch kids off for having a half-inch plastic knife in Princess Ariel’s picnic kit and the lawyer for a representative of a member of an Accredited Victim Group caught with a kitana and a couple of hands that don’t belong to him will be howling about discrimination and likely win in court, with help from the ACLU.
    I exaggerate, but not by much.
    This is the reason for ZT.

    As Instapundit says, why would we want our kids educated by a bunch that took twenty years to figure out the obvious?

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:


    Well, I suppose we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. Anyone who was reading my back in the day knows that I’ve been an ardent opponent of zero-intelligence policies since I noticed them. I was extremely happy to read this article, extremely happy to see Joanne post about it, and now I feel like my pessimism on display earlier may not have been warranted.

  3. My Black/Hispanic males have to commit murder on camera to be disciplined, and my female and White/Asian males get suspended for sneezing loudly.

    (Ok that was a slight exaggeration)

  4. And as soon as that 12 year old shares her Advil with a child who has a serious adverse reaction, there will be calls for the head of the Principal.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Yeah. ZT is a protection against the Ed Dept and the DOJ looking askance at racially disproportionate discipline.
    Or maybe even ZT isn’t a protection.
    Not showing discretion could be prima facie evidence of discrimination.
    I don’t think I exaggerate at all.

  6. Yeah, the Hispanic students got written up for even minor infractions, the Black students walked, even with major offenses.