The above links will lead you to sites on both sides of the debate over Zero Tolerance in schools. I leave it to you to read them, make your own conclusions.
I won’t summarize them, but give you some observations:
A school with a strongly worded rules on dress code and school behavior online, with the consequences for infractions clearly stated. Syllabi/Lesson Plans, posted online as well, readdressing the same concerns. The conduct rules are posted in the main office as well.
What was seen: two students being taken out of the school in hand cuffs by police officers; not one student dressed in the very well laid out dress code (hoodies and hats were worn; scarves as head wear; tee shirts with graphics; etc); students walking around the hallways by the front door guard, near the main office, sitting on the floor; a school official hugging a student (one “rule” was “no contact between students of any type, hugging mentioned); a student walking into the office, talking to a secretary, her trying to send him on his way to class but he cut his class, as he came back in less than fifteen minutes later to “hang out”; and during the classroom change, uncountable number of cell phones and electronics being used in a school they are supposedly banned.
This was one school, but I’ve seen variations played out in many.
I made a mention of this, at times. to various teachers or staff, and the answer is almost always the same: a shrug of the shoulders, or the complaint that no one enforces it, or they can’t enforce them. They don’t get support from any number of sources (parents, the principal, whoever).
I’ve also seen schools where the parents are very involved and supportive, where the rules of conduct and dress are enforced. Are there still problems? Of course. You are dealing with a wide variable of situations. Yet, when rules don’t matter, consequences are basically non-existent…
I haven’t written here in quite awhile. Observing what I have in the last half a year (really, last four years) has sometimes left me dumbstruck. This experience just left me shaking my head.
What do you see that will work?