Safe Schools Expert on 'Zero Tolerance' Policies
Zero tolerance policies have been cited as reasons for recent disciplinary actions against young school children across the country, but a local expert says they're not the best policy. Two 6 year old's were recently suspended in Maryland for using their fingers as imaginary guns, and a kindergarten student in South Carolina was expelled for bringing a toy gun to school.
Chuck Hibbert of Hibbert Safe School Consulting in Indianapolis says those are examples of overreactions to the Sandy Hook tragedy. He says too often zero tolerance policies result in "zero common sense by school administrators." Hibbert says he understands there is mounting pressure on school officials to be vigilant in the wake of Sandy Hook, but he says administrators can't lose sight of what is age-appropriate evaluation. He says part of training offered by his business is threat assessment.
Hibbert feels communities, parents and schools need to understand decisions need to be made on a cognitive level, not an emotional level. He says cognitive decisions don't harm children and don't jeopardize school safety.