By LINDSEY EPLEY
All over the country, seemingly well behaved, sometimes straight-A students are winding up in the principal’s office. These students, often first-time offenders, can be treated like criminals for making what might seem to the average person, a minor mistake. The reason behind this forceful treatment is the often controversial zero-tolerance policy, established in the 1990s.
Originally created to provide gun-free schools, many states have since added on to the policy by suspending or expelling students carrying almost anything that could be considered a weapon, as well as illegal, prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Although zero-tolerance policies could be instrumental in preventing incidents like the Columbine shootings, some schools have taken the policy too far, according to a report by the Bipartisan Working Group on Youth Violence, published on the American Bar Association’s Web site.
“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.