Obama Admin. Urges End to School Zero-Tolerance Policies

The Obama Administration has issued a set of guidelines for schools. They urge an end to "zero tolerance" policies. Minor infractions should lead to a visit to the principal's office, not the police station.

The Administration says the policies have had a racially discriminatory effect on minorities.

The recommendations are nonbinding, but, in essence, the federal government is telling the school districts around the country that they should adhere to the principles of fairness and equity in student discipline or face strong action if they don't.

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    Racial Quotas for disipline are a bad idea (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by David in Cal on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:05:28 PM EST
    Zero Tolerance is a stupid program, as many have pointed out.  

    However, racial quotas for discipline are another stupid idea. People should be treated equally regardless of race. If black students violate the rules more often than white students or Asian students, quotas would apparently require that some black students should therefore not receive the normal punishment.  Or that non-violating white and Asian students should be punished so the percentages will equalize.  I am appalled that our Dept. of Justice would promote racial quotas for school discipline.

    Zero tolerance (none / 0) (#14)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:20:19 AM EST

    IMHO one of the motivators for zero tolerance policies was to ensure that punishment was not dished our by racially biased staff.  Or at least you could not be credibly accused of race based punishment.  Everyone black, white, brown, or green gets the same punishment for the same offense.  

    Apparently equal treatment is not OK if the numbers don't come out right.


    They have to wait till (none / 0) (#15)
    by jondee on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 01:10:11 PM EST
    they're out of HS to experience things like red state judges letting rich white kids who kill four people off with probation, while sending black kids to prison.

    Very proud of my ACLU of PA (4.50 / 2) (#2)
    by Peter G on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:32:09 PM EST
    that did a lot of the ground work on this, which the DOJ cited.

    Good stuff... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 01:03:24 PM EST
    And there sure does appear to be at least an economic angle to the implementation of these harmful "zero tolerance" policies, if not an outright racist angle.  The poorer the school district, the less tolerance for what used to be common childhood displinary issues that never involved law enforcement or security guards back in the day.  

    A most worthy endeavor for the administration...props where due.  I hope the states and schools take heed.

    Shoulda been the message from Day 1 (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:16:44 PM EST
    But better late than never. Good on the admin.

    See how it plays out (none / 0) (#4)
    by Mikado Cat on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 03:12:05 AM EST
    Zero tolerance rules did a lot of crazy things, but they also provided schools with cover for their actions, they don't decide to send Johnny to the police, its "Zero tolerance". Now they will have to decide which cases warrant which level of discipline, which may turn out to be no cases since nobody wants to be responsible.

    Could be good, could be bad, could be good some places and bad in others. Wait and see if my view.

    Keeping schoolchildren... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:25:07 AM EST
    out of handcuffs (or worse, out of taser range) is a whole lotta upside, no downside.

    Seriously (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Dadler on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 10:34:55 AM EST
    If anyone wants to see what it's like for children to be cuffed and caged, I urge them to tour their local Juvenile Detention Facility. Some years back, when I was pursuing a teaching credential, I had to do a week of research in Juvie. Let me tell you, if you haven't been inside a kid prison, I can guarantee you it is the single most depressing experience you will ever have.

    The second most depressing (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 02:24:46 PM EST
    experience is realizing how many people in this country believe human beings can be trained to be "good" by primitive behaviorist aversion techniques.

    Training (none / 0) (#9)
    by Mikado Cat on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 06:25:30 AM EST
    is way beyond my considerations. I was thinking about protecting students from other students who are dangerous. Violent minors are among the most dangerous people you can imagine. Gangs recruit young for dirty work tasks.

    Talk to some people that work in a violent youth facility. Rule number one, NEVER let anybody ever get between you and door.


    I've spent half my life (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jondee on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 11:41:58 AM EST
    around kids like that.

    In a group there seems to be some sort of Orwellian Lord of the Flies group-mind-dynamic that takes over..

    These kids are all saveable if you can get them away from that dog-eat-dog milieu and into a more enlightened, life-affirming one. I believe that with every fibre of my being.

    The trouble is, in this country we believe saving a hedge fund is more important than saving a human being. As Jefferson said, I shudder for my country when I remember that God is just.


    I agree (none / 0) (#11)
    by Mikado Cat on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 06:11:21 PM EST
    but a first obligation is to protect other students.

    Reforming our system of punishment is its own can of worms. Some I am sure can be turned around, some I am a lot less sure of, or that just a "nicer" situation or kindness in general is the right answer.


    For teenagers and young adults, (none / 0) (#12)
    by NYShooter on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 08:18:55 PM EST
    peer pressure is the strongest influence they face. That, of course, has always been the case, however, there does seem to be a virulent strain of peer pressure today greater in magnitude than youngsters have faced in the past.

    This pressure is the primary recruitment device for inner city gangs. And, for the suburban crowd, we have Facebook, along with a potpourri of similar "social media." I don't know what separates today's scene from yesteryear's, but, the rash of murders & suicides these days should tell us something is very, very wrong.


    Oklahoma to ease penalty on imaginary guns? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 12:20:31 PM EST
    Oklahoma bill would ease Zero-Tolerance school policies on imaginary, toy guns

    OKLAHOMA CITY -  Schoolchildren in Oklahoma could not be punished for chewing their Poptarts into the shape of a gun under a bill introduced this week by a Republican legislator.

    Rep. Sally Kern said Wednesday her measure dubbed the Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act was in response to school districts having policies that are too strict or inflexible.

    Kern cited a recent Maryland case that gained national media attention where a boy was suspended after his teacher accused him of chewing his Pop Tart into the shape of a gun.

    (apologies in advance for the double FOX cites)