Zero tolerance policies in learning institutions are not the best way of instilling discipline in students because they ignore the explanatory situations. Zero tolerance policies refer to the harsh punishment to the students and sometimes staff, without regard to ignorance, unintended mistakes, and explanatory situation in schools. These policies were introduced to prevent and reduce cases of violence and drug misuse in schools. The strategy was also established to reduce cases of possession of firearms and weapons in schools. Pioneers of the strategies intended to make schools an appropriate site to learn.
However, recent outcomes from schools reveal that the zero policies are not a solution to curb violence in schools. Strict adherence to the zero tolerance rules have resulted into children being expelled from schools and this is raising concerns for parents and other civil rights activists. This is because; children are getting severe punishment regardless of the circumstance under which the students committed the crime. This system is so inflexible, in that, the learners do not get an opportunity to explain themselves. Children are expelled for very small mistakes like bringing eyebrow trimmers to school.
Children considered as good and respectful get severe punishment for a single mistake. The result of the strategies is the disproportionate punishment to mistakes (Hanks 98). The application of the zero tolerance policies are based on force myths that has made children suffer under them. The first myth is that violence in schools is rising at an alarming rate and the schools are in a crisis because of the violence. It becomes necessary for schools to adopt no-nonsense strategies to deal with the violence problem.
Recent studies show that cases of violence in schools have remained stable and in some schools, it has gone down. Therefore, the schools do not have to assume that the violence cases are on the rise, and thus, need for zero tolerance strategies. School administration need to come up with other strategies to deal with violence and not necessarily apply the zero tolerance strategies. One of the reasons why the strategies were introduced was to reduce violence in schools. The truth is that expulsion and suspension does not change the students' perception towards violence.
In fact, punitive punishment inculcates the 'go for broke' attitude, where students do severe crimes because they know that they will be suspended without question. The students can even commit additional crimes since they view the punishment as lighter. This implies the learners may refuse to fear the punishment and will do actions they think is proportionate to their mistakes (Gurian 65). The other myth related to the application of the strategies application of compulsory punishment for specific mistakes improves discipline consistency and ensures students get disciplinary messages clearly.
However, there is no direct relation between the school discipline and strict punishment. Consistency in discipline is largely determined by other factors like the school philosophy and governance. Zero tolerance strategies do not improve school discipline in any way. The other myth about zero tolerance strategies is that expulsion and suspension of undisciplined children will create an appropriate and safe environment for studying for the remaining schools. Recent researches have shown otherwise. Schools with high levels of suspension and expulsions have poor ratings of the school environment.
The schools tend to have poor governance structures sand spend most of their time dealing with disciplinary cases. This shows that the suspensions and expulsions of disruptive students do not give any information to the remaining students. They continue doing mistakes despite knowing that other students have been expelled for the same reasons. More importantly, the strategies result into poor academic performance. The schools dedicate a lot of efforts to transform schools into a good environment that they forget about academics. The result is poor academic performance for the students.
The students left in school fail because of neglect from the teacher. The suspended students, on the other hand, are left out of academics during the time they are serving their punishment (Bardes 87).