Zero Tolerance Policies

The zero tolerance policies refer to the guidelines that illustratethe strict punishment that a student will face when he or she engagesin undesirable conduct in the school. Most schools have adopted thezero tolerance policies because they want to create a supportiveenvironment that will facilitate the learning activities. Often, theschools will suspend or even expel a student when the administrationfinds out that they have committed some immoral activities. In thiscase, the policies often prevent the students from engaging inviolence, gang activities as well as the drug abuse. The unpleasantconduct often engenders the lives of the other students that expectthe school environment to help them achieve their learningobjectives. Hence, the schools will use the zero tolerance policiessince they want to protect the entire school community from theimmoral behavior. This essay will reveal why the zero tolerancepolicies should be discontinued since they target the minorities andthey have not made the schools orderly or safe.

The report A Generation later: What we’ve learned about ZeroTolerance in Schools by Kang-Brown et al., (2013) reveal thatmost of the schools around the nation have adopted the suspension andthe expulsion approaches in punishing the students that engage invarious violations. The report helps in showing the origin as well asthe importance of the policies in most of the schools. It alsoillustrates that in 1972-73, the schools had expelled about one inthirteen students but in 2009-10, the number increased to one in ninesecondary school goers. The increase in the number of the studentsbeing expelled in the schools arises from the implementation of thezero tolerance policies. In fact, it shows that about two millionstudents in the secondary schools are suspended in a year. Theirresearch also talks about sixty percent of the students beingexpelled or suspended in the entire time they were in high or evenmiddle school. Most of the mistakes involve the using drugs andviolating some of the code of conduct that the administrations expectthe students to respect.

Even if the zero tolerance policies are expected to restore peace andorder in the school environment, they are too extreme to thestudents, and they tend to offer punishments that will not fulfillthe corrective purposes that they should meet. Kang-Brown et al.,(2013) show that the policies have ended up being harsher to theminority students. For instance, thirty-one percent of the black boyshave reported that they have been suspended once in the 2009-10academic year. Besides that, the Latino and the Black youths are morelikely to be suspended more than the White students. The scenariodepicts the inequality that the policies reveal and the need for thecorrective measures as well. In this case, most schooladministrations tend to rely on the common racial stereotypes injudging the behaviors of the students.

The zero tolerance policies should be discontinued because they havenot made the school safe or orderly. The government thought that theimplementation was a way to reduce the violence in schools and makesure that the students will behave appropriately because of thestrict punishments. The report shows that the increased rate does notimprove the academic success of the entire school (Kang-Brown et al.,2013). In fact, the expulsion and the suspension cases havethreatened the community where the students are released to. Moreimportantly, the schools should initiate programs that will correctthe disruptive behaviors that the students have acquired. Forinstance, the support groups and counseling sessions are a perfectway to insist the proper conduct that the students should embrace.The supportive approach will make sure that the students improvetheir behaviors and they are focused on their academic work as well.

In conclusion, the zero tolerance policies are not an effective wayof controlling indiscipline in schools since it seems to target theminority students mostly while it has failed to nurture safety andorderliness too. The report A Generation later: What we’velearned about Zero Tolerance in Schools proves that the policieshave been unable to restore discipline. In fact, the rate ofexpulsion and suspensions in the schools has increased and that hasaffected their performance too. It has also increased insecurity inthe communities since most of the students do not have theappropriate supportive system that will offer the help that theyneed. The school administration system should focus on counseling andsupportive groups.


Kang-Brown, J., Trone, J., Fratello, J., &amp Daftary-Kapur, T.(2013). A generation later: what we’ve learned about zero tolerancein schools. New York (NY): Vera Institute of Justice.Retrieved on 7th Nov, 2016, from: