Zero Tolerance Policies Ineffective and possibly Counter Productive

Some sense from the American Psychological Association.

A review of the school discipline research shows that zero tolerance policies developed in the 1980s to stop drug use and curtail unruly and violent behavior in schools are not as successful as thought in creating safer environments to learn. These policies, which mandate that schools severely punish disruptive students regardless of the infraction or its rationale, can actually increase bad behavior and also lead to higher drop out rates, according to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) report. Based on these results, the APA today adopted a resolution recommending ways to target discipline more effectively in order to keep schools safe while also eliminating the need for a one-size-fits-all punishment for misbehavior.

APA’s governing body, the Council of Representatives, commissioned the Zero Tolerance Task Force to examine the research conducted to date on the effects zero tolerance policies have on children in schools. The task force reviewed the last 10 years of research to determine whether these policies have made schools safer without taking away students’ opportunity to learn; whether they incorporated children’s development as a factor in types of discipline administered; and whether educators referred juveniles to the justice system too often with costly consequences. Lastly, the review showed how families and communities are affected by these policies.

According to the report’s findings, schools are not any safer or more effective in disciplining children than before these zero tolerance policies were implemented in the mid 1980s. The research also shows that while school violence is a serious issue, violence in schools is “not out-of-control.”

Thanks very much to Harry for alerting me to this.


Blogger saturdaynightspecial said...

The first step, and one good way to make schools safer is to eliminate all mandatory attendance laws. Then those who don't want to be there won't have to. This will allow students prone to violence a way out of the system.

Currently, especially in high school, violent students victimize those who want to be there to take advantage of public education. In other words violent students are beating on honor students making schools unsafe for the best students.

12/06/2006 2:46 PM  
Blogger saturdaynightspecial said...

Eliminate mandatory attendance laws. And work to end public education with the goal of removing government from educating children.


12/07/2006 5:47 AM  

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