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Show Airs Tuesday, February 15

Has Zero Tolerance Gone Too Far in Schools?


Was Chloe’s school out of line for suspending her?

Today’s educational system faces more potent threats than ever before in the form of drugs, violence, gangs and sexual activity. However, growing zero tolerance policies at schools around the country have prompted concern from parents who fear for their children’s privacy. Is zero tolerance bettering school safety or is it an unfounded excuse to rob students of their rights? Find out more below:


Brian, a high school senior, was recently expelled after school officials found empty beer bottles and firecrackers in his car. Though the items were remnants of a night out with friends, the school viewed the explosives as a harmfully intended weapon and sent Brian to an alternative school. As a student with decent grades and no previous history of bad behavior, Brian feels the school’s actions were too extreme. However, Jennifer disagrees. As a parent whose daughter attends Brian’s school, she stands behind the school’s strict policies with a strong belief that schools cannot make arbitrary exceptions for individual cases because it dilutes the rule’s effectiveness.


At 14-year-old Chloe’s high school, drug-sniffing dogs routinely walk the halls and parking lot. More recently, dogs have been allowed into the classrooms – to the shock of many parents. On one such occasion, the dogs found Chloe’s prescription birth control pills in her purse. As a consequence of the school’s rule that no prescription drugs can be carried on campus, Chloe was suspended and told that she must attend drug counseling. Video Clip: Was Chloe’s school out of line for suspending her? Chloe’s parents Maxie and Nancy were outraged and implored the school to take individual scenarios into account, rather than imposing rules meant for drug users on innocent students.


After an anonymous tip was called in to Andy’s school, the 18-year-old student was pulled from class and forcibly searched for drugs despite lack of evidence. Upon searching Andy’s car, school officials found a knife in his fishing tackle box and two empty marijuana roaches under the seat. Though the car was parked about half a mile from school property, Andy was still expelled from school. Having recently obtained his GED, he is now running for the school board in an attempt to keep the same injustices from happening to other students.


Zero tolerance policies are now permeating even kindergarten students, as evidenced by Jerome’s case. After acting up on the bus and in school, Jerome was handcuffed twice and taken away in a squad car by police. Jerome’s mother Aroni was not notified by the school and found out only after Jerome complained that his arms hurt from the handcuffs. When she confronted the principal, Aroni was told that he felt the scare tactic was necessary. Aroni was outraged and has now pulled her children from the school.

Quick Clicks

Show Talk: Has zero tolerance gone too far? Have you seen discipline cross the line in your own communities? Weigh in with your experiences here.