School Discipline "Zero Tolerance" Policies

FEBRUARY 2001

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports the following principles concerning school discipline:

1. Schools should be safe places for students to learn and develop.

2. In cases involving alleged student misbehavior school officials should exercise sound discretion that is consistent with principles of due process and considers the individual student and the particular circumstances of misconduct; and

3. Alternatives to expulsion or referral for prosecution should be developed that will improve student behavior and school climate without making schools dangerous; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association opposes principle, "zero tolerance" policies that mandate either expulsion or referral of students to juvenile or criminal court, without regard to the circumstances or nature of the offense or the students history.