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Morning Video: Former AG Eric Holder Says Fear Drove Zero-Tolerance School Policies


Here the New York Times looks back at the rise of zero-tolerance discipline policies, going back to Joe Clark, and then takes us to the current wave of restorative justice programs (featuring Furr High School in Houston).

"The concept of zero tolerance has come to encompass such a broad range of disruptive actions that roughly three million schoolchildren are suspended each year... Many students are hauled off to police station houses for antisocial behavior that, a generation or two ago, would have sent them no farther than the principal’s office."

Watch the video to see Eric Holder talk about high school kids as predators back in the 1990s, and admit that the policies and implementation went way too far. Read the accompanying article here.

The series, part of the Times' Retro Reports series, gives a helpful overview, though I wish it pointed out the struggles that some districts are having transitioning from zero tolerance to restorative practices without additional resources for counselors and teacher training. Eliminating zero tolerance isn't as easy as flipping a switch, and trying to do it without care and planning could lead schools right back to some of the same problems as before. 


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