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Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance: Implications and Alternatives for Students With Disabilities

aSan Diego State University, USA
bUniversity of Louisville, USA
cOhio Valley Educational Cooperative, USA

Issues Around Violence in Schools

ISBN: 978-1-83797-624-9, eISBN: 978-1-83797-623-2

Publication date: 4 December 2023


Despite long-standing evidence that the use of exclusionary discipline practices is both ineffective and even potentially harmful, these policies continue to be used in educational settings across the country. In this chapter, we discuss the problems associated with exclusionary discipline, with an emphasis on zero tolerance approaches. We begin our discussion with a brief history of the origin of zero tolerance policies, a presentation of data that contradict the effectiveness of such policies, and examples of the continued and egregious application of this exclusionary approach. We discuss problems of disproportionality associated with the use of zero tolerance policies, including how this approach exacerbates learning problems for students with and at risk for disabilities, especially if that risk is related to emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). We conclude by offering alternatives to a zero tolerance approach in the form of positive and preventative approaches for improving student behavior across various levels of intensity within a tiered system of support framework.



Collins, L.W., Landrum, T.J. and Sweigart, C.A. (2023), "Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance: Implications and Alternatives for Students With Disabilities", Collins, L.W., Landrum, T.J. and Cook, B.G. (Ed.) Issues Around Violence in Schools (Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities, Vol. 33), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 103-116.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024 Lauren W. Collins, Timothy J. Landrum and Chris A. Sweigart. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited