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School Districts Rethinking Zero-Tolerance

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Zero-tolerance ideas became part of federal education law under the Gun-Free School Act in 1994, mandating that those who brought guns to schools be expelled. Now Denver and Los Angeles are rethinking the policy after reports of severe punishments for youth misjudgments like carrying toy guns or Advil for pain relief caused national controversy.

With research reported by the American Psychological Association finding no evidence of zero-tolerance being a deterrent or keeping schools safer, schools are looking to options like anti-bullying and prevention-oriented approaches.

Programs such as positive behavior support, which is nationally utilized in 14,000 schools to keep problems from happening, are changing the ways schools are dealing with behavior. After instituting the program, suspensions are down 38% in Baltimore with none given for attendance violations.

Balancing the need for safety while dealing with individuals who get in trouble is causing schools to look for options. Read about such efforts in The Washington Post.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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  • Kathelleen Parsons

    All the children want is for the principles to give the child what they want, to be sent home to an empty house- no parents, they can watch tv, computer, play video games. Instead of suspending the child, and giving them what they want, send them to programs and the parents too so that they continue to stay involve with their child. Programs like anger management, stress management, learn how to work with others- like team cooperation, etc. And they have to finish with the program to continue to go to school. If they fail then look into the alternative school. You just cant send these children home and “give” them what they want. You have to be ahead of them and give them more support in dealing with issues in a mature and diplomatic way. Suspending students is just not the “in” thing to do. It is just avoiding the situation and not improving on the situation. These are things of thoughts. I just wish schools would stop suspending the students. You have plenty of Free resources to use to help. None of this have to be extra cost.

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