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The Role of 'Zero Tolerance Policies' in Schools

What are we teaching our children by way of ‘zero tolerance policies’ in schools? Check out this recent blog by the American Civil Liberties Union- it brings to bear the experience of Kyle: a bright, hard-working, promising, 14- year old teen athlete who, unfortunately, is bound to suffer the limitations associated with a full-year of disrupted education and an assignment most parents wouldn’t imagine their teen would return home with: a full year of house-arrest. For what crime was he adjudicated, one might wonder? He passed a note in class.

The management of minor disruptions in the classroom might sound trivial; however, with a limited menu of options available for addressing interpersonal conflict, these situations can spiral out of control, quickly.

Do current policies in place benefit our teachers who are engaged on the front line of conflict or, ultimately, do these structures undercut our efforts as an educational system to provide a safe, secure environment which fosters the development of skills needed by children to manage conflict and interpersonal differences with diplomacy? Absent the use of methods such as physical restraint and social exclusion, what methods of working with kids are made available to our educators? It’s time we explore some more options.

Check out the original blog here!

Let us know your thoughts about the role of policy, police, and the professionals we need to support in our classrooms!

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