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CASE STUDY. We are going to analyze and review the zero tolerance policy but in terms of using “common sense.’ Today’s case study will take place in three different school campuses, simultaneously. Keep in mind: The definition of violence. The need for a zero tolerance policy.

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  1. CASE STUDY We are going to analyze and review the zero tolerance policy but in terms of using “common sense.’ Today’s case study will take place in three different school campuses, simultaneously. Keep in mind: • The definition of violence. • The need for a zero tolerance policy. • The reasons for a prevention policy. LET’S REVIEW AFTER EACH CASE…

  2. INCIDENT ONE       The bell rings and John walks down the hallway carrying his backpack. Dangling from his backpack is a key chain. The key chain is a knight holding a knife. John is so excited about his new key chain. He walks into his 1st grade class and starts showing it off to all of his friends.  Ms. Johnson walks in and notices the crowd around John. She walks over and sees him showing the knight key chain to his classmates. Ms. Smith takes the key chain from John and later turns it in to the principal.  As the principal you noticed that the shape of the key chain has a pointed edge and is considered a weapon under the zero tolerance rule.

  3. INCIDENT TWO Meanwhile, Sara is rummaging through her purse during her 7th grade math class. She is feeling ill because of her menstrual cramps. She asks Mr. Jones, her teacher, if she could go and get a drink of water, so that she can take her Midol.  Mr. Jones realizes that Sara has the Midol in her hand. He tells Sara to give him the Midol and to go to the office. Mr. Jones takes the Midol to the office and turns the situation over to the principal.  As the principal you know that when a student has medication of any kind, it is a violation of the school’s zero tolerance policy.

  4. INCIDENT THREE At the same time Mary Ellen, a 11th grader is explaining to the principal that her car broke down on the way to school, she called her father. He met her and gave her his truck to drive to school, so as to not be late. Mary Ellen pleads with the principal that she did not know that her father had a hunting rifle in the back of the truck.  A student had noticed the butt of the gun and reported it to the principal.  The principal believes Mary Ellen but also knows that she must be reported and that she must be expelled because of the zero tolerance – weapons on campus – rule.

  5. What is violence? • Is a rough physical force, action or treatment • An abusive or unjust use of power • Any action verbal or non verbal – that can cause harm, threatens or intimidates another • Includes – but not limited too – threats of bodily harm, harassing and stalking behaviours.

  6. COLUMBINE The tragedy penetrated the very depths of people around the world…..it made everyone sit back and take stock... schools were no longer an ordinary place of learning and safety…. it was fast becoming the breeding ground for a new caliber of student and societal changes. The tragedy impregnated leaders, parents, students and society as a whole….and a new policy was born, and it was named… Zero Tolerance

  7. Why? COULD THIS HAPPEN ON MY CAMPUS?ARE WE DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO CURB VIOLENCE WITHIN OUR CAMPUS?DO WE HAVE STUDENTS WHO CAN AND WILL THREATEN VIOLENCE ON THE CAMPUS? The Columbine fear syndrome among administrators – made school systems respond by putting a new stringent policy in place to work parallel to existing discipline policies – ZERO TOLERANCE School systems justified this new policy under the - Clinton’s federal law – “Gun free Schools Act of 1994”

  8. What is the zero policy? • Invented in the 1990’s • To curb violence and drug use • To protect students in a campus • To keep a school campus safe • Aim to decrease violence within schools. When students are aware of the consequences of their actions, it will deter them from acting out…

  9. DEFINITION ‘Zero tolerance is a term used to describe a non-discretionary enforcement policy for the criminal law or informal rules. Under a system of zero tolerance, persons in positions of authority – who might otherwise exercise their discretion in making subjective judgments regarding the severity of a given offense – are instead compelled to act in particular ways and, where relevant, to impose a pre-determined punishment regardless of individual culpability or "extenuating circumstances".’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_tolerance

  10. What does ‘zero tolerance’ mean for the administrators? The majority of administrators strive for a ‘firm, fair and consistent discipline.’ In the USA – if your campus has a zero tolerance policy – as an administrator you can enforce it. WHY? ‘..because it is a policy that has no tolerance for any transgression of the educational campus policies regarding appropriate student behaviour, within the norms and values of the campus – any offense – irrespective of the act committed – will be given the full punishment, in accordance with the educational policies and procedures.’

  11. How can Zero Tolerance - in a school – work? Will be used against a particular action E.g.: in possession of a weapon, in possession of drugs, sexual harassment, bullying etc HOW? If a student is caught using or in possession of an illegal substance on the school campus – governed by a zero tolerance policy – will and could be immediately given the highest possible consequence for that action.

  12. Is it in use? • ¾ of schools have implemented policies that outline consequences of inappropriate behaviour • 9/10 principals believe that this policy is important to keep schools safe Ponder this… Does your school have a zero tolerance policy? Does your school have a policy that works in conjunction with the schools district zero tolerance policy guidelines? Have you read your school’s discipline policies?

  13. Do we need prevention policies? YES Why? There has been numerous… - Reports of students being victimized - Reports of drugs on campus - Reports of bullying - Reports of weapons on campus • Reports of student violence • Reports of students making threats

  14. HOWEVER? In recent years, the zero tolerance policy has developed ‘ a life of its own.’ CONFUSED? Schools are under a lot of pressure! • Are being accused of being too lax in discipline or; • Overly harsh and almost abusive in their disciplinary actions.

  15. As a result Although administrators are following the policy, there have been incidents reported recently that some the disciplinary decisions made in some cases lack ‘common sense’ The ideology behind the zero tolerance policy has left room for the schools interpretation of what constitutes some of the policies laws. It is these minor cases which are falling under the zero tolerance policy – is beginning to create a ‘perception that there is some type of mass conspiracy by educators to unfairly discipline children’

  16. ABSENT OF COMMON SENSE While the zero tolerance policy is the backbone to keeping schools safe and used to endorse prevention programs, there is a fine line when it comes to the integrity of the policy, when dealing with cases that are obviously minor and co-incidental. It is here that the administrator needs to be able to judge the incident or occurrence in terms of severity and circumstances, while simultaneously being able to follow the guidelines of the policy. There has been reported cases, where minor incidents, are merely bagged into the same category with more severe incidents, all in the name of keeping students on a campus safe.


  18. ZERO TOLERANCE “ There are many misconceptions about the prevalence of youth violence in our society and it is important to peel back the veneer of hot-tempered discourse that often surrounds the issue.... While it is important to carefully review the circumstances surrounding these horrifying incidents so that we may learn from them, we must also be cautious about inappropriately creating a cloud of fear over every student in every classroom across the country. In the case of youth violence, it is important to note that, statistically speaking, schools are among the safest places for children to be.” Final Report, Bi Partisan Working Group on Youth Violence 106th Congress, February 2000

  19. ZERO TOLERANCE ZERO EVIDENCE ‘Zero tolerance is a political response – not an educationally sound solution – it sounds impressive to say that we’re taking a tough stand against misbehaviour but data says it simply hasn’t been effective in improving student behaviour’ Dr. Russell Skiba – Education Policy Center at Indiana University School of Education.

  20. In memory of the students and educators…who.. without knowing it…were destined to change school history…


  22. REFERENCES • http://www.abanet.org/crimjust/juvjus/zerotolreport.html • http://www.thisistrue.com/zt.html • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_tolerance • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_tolerance_(schools) • http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,103983,00.html • http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?6253ccf2-9df1-45a7-b134-116cf06ca680 • http://www.parentdish.com/2007/05/09/school-punishes-student-with-tylenol-under-zero-tolerance-poli/ • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OwK34ZD1TY&mode=related&search • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaU1AEYu5yQ&mode=related&sea=rch • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSgHnBx5x1Y • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZgfQqGPZPg • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBxJcdJ8zGA&mode=related&search= • http://www.schoolsecurity.org/index.html • ZeroIntelligence.net • www.cchr.org/index • www.rutheford.org/articles • www.jhu.edu/safeathopkins • www.712educators.about.com

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