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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Zero Tolerance Public School Discipline Negatively Affects African American Students

One of the most harmful policies put into the public school system is, I believe "zero tolerance" of .......

Whatever the zero tolerance is, it means that someone can use his/her own intolerance as a weapon.

For instance, lets say your child has problems with his/her hands, and needs a certain kind of scissor to cut paper. Let's say that a teacher tells the students that the class will be creating a mural and will be making shapes from colored paper. So you, as a mom who cares, sends your child with his/her special scissors and a note as to why you are doing this.

A school with a zero tolerance policy in place may suspend your child for bringing in a weapon. Another example is this:

For 9 years I offered parents my service as a representative for their children who were suspended and sent to a Suspension Hearing. At the West 125th street Suspension Hearing site in the 9 years I worked there volunteering to assist parents, guess how many white faces I saw? One besides mine - a first-year law school student taking on suspension hearings for extra credit. 95-98% of the kids, ranging from 1st grade through high school, were all Special Education children and African American or Hispanic.

See? We must throw out zero tolerance and examine the circumstances of each incident.

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

Study Finds That School Zero-Tolerance Discipline Policies Do More Harm Than Good

A new study by F. Chris Curran, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, finds that zero-tolerance public school disciplinary policies may produce racial disparities in school suspensions and expulsions which could hinder the academic success rates of African American students. Furthermore, the study finds that these policies have had little effect on improving school safety.
Dr. Curran writes in the article that “the study showed that state laws requiring schools to have zero tolerance policies increased suspension rates for all students. Second, suspension rates increased at a higher rate for African-American students, potentially contributing to racial disparities in discipline. Finally, principals reported few decreases in problem behaviors in schools, suggesting that the laws did not improve the safety and order of schools.”
The suggests that state zero tolerance laws may be resulting in more students, particularly students of color, being excluded from the learning environment while failing to improve the school setting for those students who remain. “Principals report few decreases in problem behaviors such as fighting, drug use, or disrespect as a result of these laws,” says Dr. Curran.
The study, “Estimating the Effect of State Zero Tolerance Laws on Exclusionary Discipline, Racial Discipline Gaps, and Student Behavior,” was published on the website of the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. It may be accessed here.