21 years ago, federal legislation was passed, requiring schools to expel a student if they were found to possess a firearm on school grounds for at least one year. The policy has been expanded to include bullying and other weapons. Schools that are found to be in violation of the policy risk losing their federal funding. Some find these policies to be effective, while others question their usefulness, so let’s have a closer look at the pros and cons.
List of Pros of Zero Tolerance Policy in Schools
1. Safe Learning Environment.
When children know that they risk serious punishment by bringing firearms to school and bullying their fellow students, they are far more likely to remain on the straight and narrow, which makes for a much safer learning environment. Children are more apt to pay attention and comprehend their lessons if they are not living in fear.
2. Real World Preparation.
A zero tolerance policy gives schoolchildren the chance to see what it is like in the real world when you do not follow the rules of society. Children get a taste of what discipline is like for those who are over the age of 18. A police officer is not going to want to hear excuses and neither should an educator.
3. Favoritism Is Removed From The Equation.
Policies of this nature leave no room for any sort of nepotism or favoritism. No matter who a child may be affiliated with, no matter what how high their grades are, they will not be exempt from the rules of the school. Zero tolerance leaves very little wiggle room for any sort of negotiation.
List of Cons of Zero Tolerance Policy in Schools
1. Lack Of Consensus.
A zero tolerance policy is not always effective, because educators and disciplinarians do not always agree about what actually constitutes a weapon. There may also be disagreements regarding where to draw the line when it comes to bullying. “Kids will be kids” is typically bandied about as an explanation for taunting/teasing.
2. Children Face Criminal Charges.
Some schools follow their policies to the letter, which causes children to be arrested for very minor offenses. A child may get expelled from school for having a pair of nail clippers in their backpack or a child who is sick could be subject to drug charges, due to the possession of their medication.
3. Expelled Students Quitting School.
Studies show that children who experience an expulsion from their school under zero tolerance policies are far less likely to head back when their punishment is finished and receive their high school diploma. When children are sent home for a full year, they have very little to do with their free time and end up falling deeper into the criminal lifestyle.