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Enough of Zero Tolerance Yet Again?

October 21st, 2009

Six year old first grader Zachary Christie was recently suspended  from Downes Elementary School in Newark Delaware for bringing a camping eating utensil to school.  He was initially faced with the prospect of a 45 day commitment to reform school for his transgression.

In previous blog entries I addressed the Milpitas California High School Official’s decision to bar from high school graduation ceremonies a student who had broken up an on school campus fight in the name of maintaining the integrity of the school district’s zero tolerance policy on campus violence, and the United States Supreme Court’s decision of early this year in Safford School District v. Redding, where the court deemed unreasonable a strip search of a 13 year old girl alleged to have been in possession of ibuprofen.

Enough of zero tolerance yet?  The Newark Delaware School District Board voted to amend the district’s zero tolerance policy allowing for a less draconian punishment for Zachary of three to five days of suspension, rather than the initially indicated reform school commitment.  To accommodate Zachary the amendment to the policy was made retroactive to the beginning of the school year.

Are schools really moving forward?   Is this a signal of the beginning of the end of zero judgment, zero tolerance for school culture in the United States?

If you or someone you know has questions regarding criminal justice issues and youth please contact the San Jose Juvenile Lawyers at the Law Offices of Bernard P. Bray.

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