Charter Schools

D.C. Charter Schools Urged To Drop 'Zero Tolerance'

Exercise a little discretion


The DC Public Charter School Board is encouraging charter schools to eliminate their "zero tolerance" discipline policies in an effort to reduce the number of students being suspended and expelled, Executive Director Scott Pearson said Thursday.

"On the whole, charter schools expel and suspend too many students," Pearson told The Washington Examiner following a D.C. Council hearing.

Some actions, like bringing a weapon to school or threatening to hurt or kill someone, are widely accepted or even federally mandated as actions meriting "zero tolerance"—meaning a school must automatically suspend or expel a student who commits such acts, he said. However, a zero-tolerance policy for students who get into fights or bring drugs to school are less productive "because it effectively ties their hands when they're making discipline decisions."