zero tolerance discipline

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tyler B., Jan 17, 2016.

  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Jan 17, 2016

    “The idea that a zero-tolerance philosophy based on punishment and exclusion could create effective learning climates has proven to be illusory.”

    Russell Skiba and Daniel Losen

    Teachers, schools and districts that use this are damaging kids, not strengthening them. What do you think?
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Anytime you issue blanket penalties without considering other factors, you're doing a disservice to all involved.
     
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  4. PoliticalFutbol

    PoliticalFutbol Rookie

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    My reply was posted, then disappeared. So I posted again and my original came up. I am now editing it to saying this. Now how do I delete this since you can read its replacement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  5. PoliticalFutbol

    PoliticalFutbol Rookie

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    Never believed in zero tolerance.
    Related: Forcing all students to go to school and then punishing them doesn't seem to make much sense to them. Does it to you?
    Maybe my thought can be understood by asking "What if we force all students to take something like physics and then punish them?"
     
  6. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Agreed, yet many discipline "philosophies" do just this.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I think zero tolerance policies make things easier for administration and help keep things transparent. But I think common sense needs to come into play when we're talking about growing humans.

    I was glad for a zero tolerance policy when the football coach's kid was expelled for having a weapon on campus. Kid, like his father, thought he was God and it was only a matter of time before he followed through on his threats. I wasn't so glad for the policy when a student was expelled because she carried fork and knife to school in her lunchbox to cut up her leftover steak she was eating.
     
  8. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I do not like zero tolerance, but in this case the blame lies not with administrators but with lawyers and our litigious society. I usually do not take up for the administration as I generally do not see them as adding any value to the educational process but in this instance I do not lay the blame at their feet. Zero Tolerance keeps schools from being sued (sadly).
     
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  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Zero Tolerance in California led to lawsuits as well leading us to our current policy of Total Tolerance. I won't lie, I preferred Zero Tolerance despite all it's flaws to the nonsense we have now.
     
  10. ocostake

    ocostake New Member

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    Yes you guys have the right idea. It's sad to think that we expect students to act like adults all responsible and stuff.
    In fact one day I was reading an article in that most teen offenders don't categorize themselves as offenders until they are labeled so by the responsible party which is us who should know better being the adults and all.
     
  11. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    welcome. I am not sure what point you are trying to make in your post, but any issues with Zero Tolerance should be addressed to politicians and the legal community. I think ZT is an output of that process, not the educational system (imo).
     
  12. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I'm not 100% sure of what is meant by zero tolerance, but we just had a student be expelled for having enough marijuana (and "other substances") in his car to be considered a dealer. I realize that this is a justifiable expulsion under the law, but it was really heartbreaking to me -- I had this student last year as a junior and the growth he had made this year was incredible. He just had one semester to graduation and was getting all As and Bs. It's really mind-boggling that he would make such a bad choice, and sad thinking that his whole life may be different as a result.
     
  13. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Agreed. Right now there is a huge feeling/movement whatever that says this type of drug is not a crime, it is socially acceptable, so I think we will see more "good" kids getting in trouble in these circumstances.
     
  14. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    This is so true and part of why I think I'm having trouble with this one...I am also having trouble with the fact that I suspect a lot of "good" kids smoke, but this particular kid was a troubled kid who had really just turned it around (or so I thought) this year. I also hate to admit it, but there is a part of my mind that is thinking about the fact that he was one of a small number of African-American students on our campus. The kid made a really stupid choice, but I can't help wondering if perhaps another student wouldn't have attracted attention from campus security and gotten away with it.

    ETA: I don't think he *should* have gotten away with it...we can't have that kind of thing going on on our campus. It has just given me pause and some sadness to see this happen to this kid.
     
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  15. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I love my job.However, unquestionably the saddest part is seeing young people make poor decisions at an early age that will impact their lives further on down the road. It truly is heart breaking if one has any empathy at all.
    Sometimes it is like seeing a car wreck that you know is about to happen but are powerless to prevent or intervene. With that being said, often times good things come out of adversity.
     
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  16. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    In high school I dated a guy from another school who had all As and Bs. He was expelled for having a weapon. He was a volunteer firefighter and had his gear pack in the car. Someone told the administration and that was it - immediate expulsion. I was really sad for him. Situations like this make me dislike ZT policies even though I see their benefits too.
     
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  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    The problem with Zero Tolerance is that it doesn't allow for variations. Zero Tolerance sounds good: punish those nasty students with drugs and weapons.

    Then, bam, everything turns into drugs and weapons and there are no extenuating circumstances.

    When all you have is the Hammer of Zero Tolerance...
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Can we start a "Common Sense Discipline" movement? Zero tolerance just doesn't make sense in 100% of situations, but we can certainly apply common sense when needed to provide the right consequences in the right situations.
     
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  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Do you guys believe that this applied to teachers classroom discipline plans as well? Or do you think that is different?
     
  20. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think a zero-tolerance policy within a classroom makes even less sense than within a school as a whole. It can be understandable for an administrator to struggle to handle context when they just don't know the students as well. A teacher doesn't have that type of excuse though.
     
  21. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I
    I think it's different, mostly because stuff so extreme they're worth a Zero Tolerance policy won't be handled at a classroom level. There is no reason a teacher needs to be inconsistent with an everyday discipline plan at that classroom level.
     
  22. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I am a bit confused, aren't both of your comments supporting a zero tolerance policy? Am I reading what you are saying correctly.

    Is it ok to be consistent with a classroom management plan but inconsistent with a school wide plan?

    Thoughts?
     
  23. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'll clarify.

    Most of these awful Zero Tolerance plans involve bigger acts of violence, weapons, or drugs I think most teachers will feel comfortable handling at the classroom level with absolutely no reporting to administration. Incidents most teachers would probably let administration know about. Under a bad Zero Tolerance policy, the admin will then take this more extreme action and automatically suspend/expel/insert your big fat consequence with no regards for the details of what went down.
    Just because I as a teacher witness misbehavior that isn't meant to be completely handled at my level doesn't mean I want some flat-rate consequence doled out.

    However, my run-of-the-mill classroom management plan for everyday small-time misbehavior? I don't see any reason why I should be analyzing sniveling tears over kids getting a check mark on my clipboard over not raising their hands.

    A reasonable and sensible classroom management policy will contain rules and consequences the vast majority of kids can follow and accept without requiring special circumstances.

    Big, complex incidents, the kind I'll probably be involving admin and others in, need more thought and involvement than what many Zero Tolerance policies give.

    Now, I'm sure there are many, many school-wide plans that are thoughtful with clear consequences and rules than can be followed with consistency each and every time. But in my experience these are separate from those with Zero Tolerance policies.

    To put my thoughts in a nutshell, if it's a bigger deal and more complex than can be fairly handled with a consistent classroom management policy, it deserves more than Zero Tolerance.
     
  24. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I get the reason behind zero tolerance, because it gives a black and white list to go with if anything happens. But there are situations when common sense should dictate.
    A kid who used to be troubled, but turned it around, but now is smoking weed / has weed on him on campus should get the proper consequence. But a kid who is a volunteer firefighter and might have a pocket knife in his backpack, accidentally forgotten, shouldn't get the same consequence who brought a knife to school for who knows what reason. And a kid who brought plastic knife and fork should also not be looked at as possible violent offender.

    Luckily at my school everything is looked at with common sense, and my P always makes a good choice when dealing with anything.
     
  25. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    As I read this thread, I reflect upon stories that alums of the school where I teach (who happen to be my age or older) share with me. I teach in a very small and rural school. As such, farming and hunting are a very big part of the local culture. Back 30 or 40 years ago, the boys would plan to go hunting (rabbit, squirrel, bird, etc) after school. It was common practice to take the required gun (shotgun or rifle) to school on the school bus and leave it in a teacher's closet until school was over. Nobody thought anything about it.

    2 years ago, one of my favorite students was sent to alternative school for 365 days because he had a BB gun in his vehicle. He ended up dropping out.

    I am unsure if we have progressed as a society or not. For every step forward, one or more appears to have been taken backwards.
     
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  26. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Is Zero Tolerance a state-wide mandate, or is it up to individual schools/districts?
     
  27. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    ZT was a horrible idea, and regrettably consistent with the philosophies of some authoritarian educators, which I guess is why it still survived.
     
  28. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    In my state, it seems to be from school to school.
     

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