"Zero-tolerance" policies make zero sense

District "zero-tolerance" policies are counterproductive, writes Rhonda B. Armistead, president of the National Association of School Psychologists. Such measures prevent school administrators from using their professional judgment and rob educators of being able to use student wrongdoing as a springboard to teach better behavior. "Does this mean that discipline should never include serious consequences? Absolutely not. But punishment should be balanced with learning. We need policies that allow administrators the latitude to respond in accordance with the unique characteristics of each student and situation," Armistead writes.

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