Editorial: Losing tolerance over zero-tolerance policies
Jan 27, 2012
from the Denver Post:
Few events have shaped school discipline policies the way the 1999 Columbine High School massacre has — not just in Colorado but around the nation.
Zero tolerance became a catchphrase for "doing-everything-possible-to-make-sure-this-never-happens-again."
And we get that. Keeping children safe is the very least we should expect of our schools.
It has become apparent, however, that too many children are being suspended and expelled for mundane matters, and the system needs to recalibrate.
We are glad to see such an effort embodied in Senate Bill 46, a bipartisan measure in the state legislature that is the product of hours of meetings and input from educators.
The bill puts disciplinary flexibility where it belongs — with the districts. It boils zero tolerance down to its core, which is a prohibition on guns in schools.
It directs districts to create their own disciplinary codes, shaped to fit the students and issues that make each district unique. It encourages districts to limit out-of-school suspensions and expulsions. And it encourages the use of peer mediation and restorative justice.