Zero tolerance policies and schools

The zero tolerance policies call for students to receive automatic suspensions or expulsions as punishment for certain offenses, primarily those involving weapons, threats, or drugs. I agree that safety is an important concern in schools, but sometimes the zero tolerance policy is taken too far. It is as if administrators don’t distinguish between minor and major discretions. I do believe that students who get in fights or who bring drugs into school should be punished. However, a third grader who shouts “bang” with an imaginary gun should not be suspended.

That is just the imagination of a young child. He means no harm. If anything, he/she might have gotten the idea from television or video games. I understand that those who are disruptive to the learning process should be removed from school. It is not fair to other students who actually want to learn. If they aren’t very disruptive, I think other punishments should be implemented, such as in school suspensions. In the movie we watched, it discussed an eight year old boy who was suspended for playing with a paper gun.

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I see no harm in this. He obviously wasn’t trying to hurt anyone; he just wanted to play cowboys and Indians like a normal young boy. However, due to the zero tolerance act, he was suspended. I see no fairness. I would understand if he would have purposely hurt someone with his paper gun, but he was just pretending. Also in another school, a school mascot wasn’t allowed to carry a cardboard sword around. It’s not as if he wanted to attack someone with this fake sword; it is just part of his costume.

Again, I don’t think this is at all fair. If I had it my way, I would tone down the zero tolerance act. It just punishes too harshly for some things. I think that it needs to distinguish the difference between minor problems, like playing with a toy gun, and major problems, like having drugs. I completely understand that schools just want to make the environment violence free, but this just can’t be done by punishing light offenders. The world is a violent place, so until everyone can get along, the world will continue to be violent.

Children see violence everyday, especially those who grow up in bad neighborhoods. Those children might think that it is alright to tell someone that they want to kill them. It is unfair to punish them for growing up like that. Perhaps a sort of remediation would be better. Suspending them would just put them back in the violence. Until the zero tolerance acts can be toned down, then I am going to have to disagree with them. If the acts distinguish between major and minor disputes, then I would agree with them.