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Rethinking School Discipline

Schools have routinely relied on traditional punitive disciplinary practices, specifically zero tolerance policies, in an attempt to control student behavior and create a safe school environment.  Zero tolerance policies advocate strict consequences for specific rule violations with no respect for the circumstances surrounding the offense.  According to the American Psychological Association’s Zero Tolerance Task Force report (2008), zero tolerance policies have not achieved the intended goal of creating an effective school discipline system.  Instead, research-based prevention practices are more likely to assist in managing student conduct, creating a safe school environment and providing productive opportunities for youth to learn appropriate behavior. 

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