School reformers: zero-tolerance not the answer

Apr 28, 2014

Peri Stone-Palmquist of the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan says she has seen cases where a child who brought a knife to school to cut an apple for lunch has been severely punished.
Credit Flickr - Paradox 56

Last week, students and advocates rallied at the Michigan Capitol after marching from Detroit to Lansing on foot. Students' marching hoped to raise awareness about the state’s school discipline policies. At the rally, they asked lawmakers to remove  legislation that requires zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools.

Many researchers and advocates argue that zero tolerance policies are not effective and harmful for students. A draft model policy that is under review by the State Board of Education recommends schools move away from zero-tolerance policies. The Board will likely vote on the draft next month.

Peri Stone-Palmquist is the Executive Director of the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan. The organization offers free non-legal support for students impacted by school discipline and zero tolerance. She says Michigan's law is noticeably stricter than laws in other states in that Michigan doesn't have an appeal process and doesn't require that students continue to receive an education after they are expelled.