Zero Tolerance

Understand the ramifications of certain actions

What is Zero Tolerance?

Zero toleranceis the concept of compelling persons in positions of authority, who might otherwise exercise their discretion in making subjective judgments regarding the severity of a given offense, to impose a pre-determined punishment regardless of individual culpability or “extenuating circumstances”.

A zero-tolerance policy is a policy of not having a tolerance for transgressions: any infraction of existing laws and regulations, regardless of mistakes, ignorance, or even extenuating circumstances, will be met with full punishment. The term may be used in general or with reference to a particular category of transgressions, e.g. a zero-tolerance policy towards alcohol use.

Who has the right to use Zero Tolerance?

It is typically enacted by an organization (usually a school) against a particular action, or possession of something on organization-controlled property. Many schools have a zero-tolerance policy concerning drugs or weapons. For example, a student possessing or caught using drugs on school property governed by a zero-tolerance policy could immediately suffer the highest possible consequence for their actions. Many organizations avoid these policies because it binds those in authority to an action, regardless of circumstances. The policy must be written extremely explicitly or it may have negative consequences.

In public schools, “zero tolerance” means that students are quickly suspended or expelled for breaking the law or violating school rules. These policies were initiated on the federal level by the 1994 Gun-Free Schools Act, which responded to several notorious school shootings across the country. The federal law required states to kick out students who brought firearms to school.

Children First Advocacy and or their employees or sub contractors do not provide legal advice in any situation. Children First Advocacy provides services associated with procedural actions concerning allegations child abuse or neglect and educational issues facing children and families in Massachusetts.