The Christian Science Monitor has an article on Zero Tolerance policies and how the tide is turning against them.
Texas – one of the nation’s toughest-minded states when it comes to crime and discipline – is now at the forefront of a small but growing movement to relax zero-tolerance policies enacted by states in the 1990s.
More than a dozen bills that try to bring a less rigid approach to school discipline have been introduced in the Texas legislature this session, including one that requires school officials to consider a student’s intent. The bill is currently moving through the House of Representatives.
“We have seen a number of states toy with the idea of scaling back or trying to make the process of school discipline more rational,” says Bob Schwartz, executive director of the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia. “But Texas is ahead of the curve at this point.”
Indiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania are also weighing the issue at the legislative level this year, with the introduction of several bills aimed at softening strict school-discipline policies.
“Just talking about it suggests that, if not a pendulum swing, a pendulum creep is in play,” says Mr. Schwartz, though he cautions that many states have given their school districts discretion when it comes to discipline, making the issue hard to legislate.
It’s particularly difficult to talk about relaxing discipline right now, a week after the school shooting on Minnesota’s Red Lake reservation. But even the Red Lake school district Superintendent Stuart Desjarlait has admitted that zero- tolerance policies can’t keep kids safe if a student is motivated to kill.
“It goes to show that if something is going to happen, it’s going to happen – no matter what you do,” he said at a news conference last week. Red Lake High School was equipped with a metal detector, security cameras, and guards.
—Christian Science Monitor (Hat tip Kirk)
Ahhh… can you imagine a world where common sense ruled? Unfortunately, (and I think I’m paraphrasing someone here but I have no clue who) those who understand the intent of the rules don’t end up becoming bureaucrats.