To the Editor:
The data represented in the article “Policy Fight Brews Over Discipline” (Oct. 12, 2011) were very disturbing. There are huge disparities between how we implement the “zero tolerance” policy with black and Hispanic students and with white students. The bigger issue with “zero tolerance” is that it is causing students to feel as if they are not good enough for society, and it in turn creates a complex within these students in which they do not want to receive an education. This process perpetuates poverty within our school system.
If a student is suspended because of a minute infraction, he or she is sent home, and with that, the school is not doing what it was designed to do—educate. After countless times of being suspended for “misdemeanor” violations at school, students are going to start to feel as if school is not the safe place they were always taught it was. Before they know it, these students are dropping out and are inevitably going to be swept into poverty because they did not finish their education.
A version of this article appeared in the November 02, 2011 edition of Education Week as Study Underscores Troubling Discipline Data