Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance Does Little To Improve Student Behavior, Says New Study

These laws also disproportionately impact minority students.

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Ryan McGuire / Gratisography

A new study published in Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis found that the presence of zero tolerance laws in schools results in increased rates of suspensions and expulsions without imprvoving behavior or order.

The study, authored by F. Chris Curran of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, used data collected by the National Center of Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education, as well as data Curran collected from researching various state laws.

"Taken as a whole, the results of this study suggest that zero tolerance laws on the part of states are not an effective mechanism for improving schools," wrote Curran.

These approaches have also been linked to increased discipline for black and Hispanic students. One instance Curran notes is a state law which has resulted in a three times larger increase in suspensions for black students as compared with their white peers.

This is troubling, considering suspensions and expulsions hinder academic progress and, as Curran notes in his study, "have been linked to future disciplinary infractions, decreased academic achievement, and school dropout."

Zero tolerance laws are based on deterrence theory. The theory states punishments must be present in society to discourage people from committing crime. As a punishment for an act increases in severity, the chances of someone committing said act decreases over fear of dealing with said punishment, at least in theory.

Federal, state, and local leaders push these laws to punish students for various actions, including bringing weapons onto school grounds and drug-related offenses.

Actions like these are worth punishing, but zero tolerance laws punish students equally regardless of circumstance or the severity of the act in question.

Recent instances of absurd zero tolerance abuses include the suspension of a student over a bubble gun and threatened expulsions of two students over fishing knives left in their cars. The students in these situations were harshly disciplined for relatively harmless acts under a system that should be protecting them.

Rather than keeping students safe, zero tolerance laws keep children out of the classroom for what no sane person would consider threathening acts. Schools are supposed to be environments where children learn about various subjects as well as appropriate conduct. Instead of teaching them the best behaviors, schools that enact zero tolerance policies are forcing students to abide by unfair or ineffective rules that punish innocent mistakes as if they were actual threats.

To learn more about the ridiculousness of zero tolerance laws, you can read past stories written by Reason staff here.

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  1. Rather than keeping students safe, zero tolerance laws keep children out of the classroom for what no sane person would consider threathening acts.

    That’s why we use the “reasonable person” criterion.

  2. It’s almost like everything government does accomplishes the opposite.

    1. Good thing we have Top Men like Bernie Sanders to teach us that government is the only way to accomplish anything and that intentions are more important than outcomes in governance.

  3. Well, this revelation has shocked me to the very core of my being. Who could have seen this outcome?

    In this case, how do you improve the school experience for those interested in learning? What is the best way to eliminate distractions so that non-troubled students can learn?

    1. Get rid of mandatory government schooling. Vouchers, if you must have taxpayers pay for it, but let parents choose their schools.

      Incentives matter! Slaves and draftees (same thing) are notoriously lazy and excel at looking busy while doing as little as possible and fucking with the powers that be. When kids and parents have a say in the curriculum or teachers, they will stop fucking with it.

    2. Seminars in transgender studies?

  4. It’s never about efficacy, it’s always about power.

    1. It’s really about job protection. Having to make judgment calls risks making poor judgments. Nobody gets fired for blindly following procedure.

  5. Kids just dont care anymore, period.

    http://www.Got-Anon.tk

  6. Zero Tolerance Does Little To Improve Student Behavior, Says New Study
    These laws also disproportionately impact minority students.

    Well it’s certainly changed the behavior of educators and parents.

  7. Why are we tolerating zeroes in the classroom? I say we divide them from the rest of class and see what happens.

    1. I’m not interested in some math-heads idea!

      1. You’re just bigoted against people with bad teeth.

        1. You’re just bigoted against people with bad teeth.

          FTFY.

        2. They lack the good molars necessary to be proper Americans.

          1. That’s an incisive comment.

    2. Geez, Quincy. Everybody knows you can’t divide by zero.

      1. That’s patriarchal, cis-normative math.

  8. Wow, first “report says food-deserts are bullshit”, now “zero-tolerance doesn’t help anyone”.

    Man, i bet these things will get TONS of press in the major newspapers and everyone will go,

    “WOW THAT IS REALLY ENLIGHTENING!@! WELL WE SHOULD PROBABLY STOP TRYING STUPID STATIST TOP-DOWN SOLUTIONS TO COMPLEX PROBLEMS NOW, RIGHT?”

    Its gonna be so awesome!

    1. More like:

      “WOW THAT IS REALLY ENLIGHTENING!@! WELL WE SHOULD PROBABLY STOP TRYING THESE STUPID STATIST TOP-DOWN SOLUTIONS AND TRY SOME DIFFERENT ONES INSTEAD!”

  9. …the presence of zero tolerance laws in schools results in increased rates of suspensions and expulsions without imprvoving behavior or order.

    The primary goal is to allow school administrators off the hook for the decision making they get paid handsomely to do. And it works.

  10. RE: Zero Tolerance Does Little To Improve Student Behavior, Says New Study
    These laws also disproportionately impact minority students.

    Everyone must ignore this study.
    The study obviously is not politically correct and cannot be considered accurate or relevant.
    It has been written by people who have not been approved by the Department of Free Speech and Propaganda.
    As we all know, zero tolerance is not about student or teacher safety.
    It is about control.
    It is about weeding out the little ones who refuse to be properly indoctrinated by our beloved public school monopoly.
    Those students who show signs of rebellion via mischief and insubordination must be removed at an early age so they can learn at an young age that conformity, compliance and obedience to The State is the only true path to their enslavement and well being.
    Otherwise, everything our socialist slavers hard work that results in oppressing us daily will be for nothing.
    No one wants that.

  11. “Taken as a whole, the results of this study suggest that zero tolerance laws on the part of states are not an effective mechanism for improving schools,”

    This just proves we need zero tolerance laws written by the Fed Gov, not those racist states.

    /DOE Bureaucrat

  12. This paper is funny. There’s all kinds of theorizing and naval gazing about tiny effects from questionable data.

    As shown in Table 4, I find that the
    interaction between a state zero tolerance law and an
    increasing proportion of Black students in a school
    district is positive and statistically significant.
    Interestingly, the interaction with the proportion of
    Hispanic students in a district is statistically signifi

    cant in the negative direction. These results suggest
    that as the proportion of Black students in a district
    increases, the presence of a state zero tolerance law
    predicts a greater proportion of suspensions but that
    the opposite trend is true as the proportion of
    Hispanic students in a school district increases.
    Results (see Appendix Table A1, available in the
    online version of the journal) from a model interact

    ing mandatory expulsion laws with the proportion
    of White students further confirm that increasing
    proportions of White students are predictive of
    greater decreases in suspensions for White students
    as compared with Black or Hispanic students.

  13. I think that zero tolerance laws were right decision of the government. They are on the right track, but school actually needs more than just zero tolerance law, it needs to be reformed in depth and ASAP. For instance, homework is a relic of the past. Students prefer to look for someone to Write My Research Paper, as they do not have time to write numerous assignments.

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