Breaking News: Zero Tolerance Doesn’t Work


Zero tolerance doesn't work

From the Associated Press:

Zero-tolerance policies are ineffective in combating bullying, an independent government advisory group says in urging schools to take a more preventative approach that includes teaching tolerance to address this “serious public health problem.”

In a report released Tuesday, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said bullying should no longer be dismissed as merely a matter of kids being kids. “Its prevalence perpetuates its normalization. But bullying is not a normal part of childhood,” the report said.

Schools, the researchers concluded, should end zero-tolerance policies that automatically suspend students for bullying. . . .

The report also said zero-tolerance policies may lead to an underreporting of bullying because suspensions are perceived as too punitive. [Full story]

This report is an important step to addressing bullying in the ways it desperately needs to be addressed, namely the situation-specific evaluation of facts in each case and socio-emotional coaching for all parties (bully, victim, and bystanders).

Mostly, however, putting an end to bullying is about teaching, nurturing, modeling, and promoting character traits like kindness, dignity, and respect.

RELATED POST: 25 Things Your Community Can Do to Address Bullying


Pamela Price is the author of Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families (GHF Press, 2015). She is available to speak to groups of all ages on the broad topic of bullying and what we’re learning about how to address it.