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.

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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.

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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.

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Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio