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Schools Nationwide Considering Serious Crackdown on Punishments

Updated: Thursday, November 14 2013, 10:12 AM EST

Nationwide, schools are stepping up to play the bad guy by taking a hardline, zero tolerance, no more three strikes and you're out.  Schools are moving to a quick expulsion, suspension, serious repercussions follow for all infractions - even those with the most innocent of intents.

Earlier this fall, a captain of a Boston high school volleyball team was benched, stripped of her title because she left home late at night to pick up a friend who had gotten drunk at a party.

In Anne Arundel County, seven-year-old Josh Welch was suspended from school last spring because he fashioned a breakfast tart into the shape of a gun.

In January, the State Board of Education will decide if zero tolerance will become part of the disciplinary process in MD public schools.

Dr. Jack Vaeth, says a zero tolerance police send good kids down the wrong path. He told FOX45, "'I'm bad', that's the message. 'I'm bad, I'm wrong.' What does that do to anyone's self-esteem?" Vaeth suggests each case be considered individually with alternative punishments offered - such as in-school suspensions.

The American Psychological Association, the State Education Board, and the Maryland State Education Association agree with Dr. Vaeth.

The Vice President of the teacher's union, Cheryl Bost, says empowering the schools to make discipline decisions is key, but it must be determined how those options will be financed. "We need to have a multiagency approach and we need to look at what programs need to be funded and put into place, what staffing needs to be funded and put into place so it can be successful and really rehab students who have made poor choices so they can make better choices without taking away their education," Bost told FOX45.

Bost notes the guidance needed to direct kids down the appropriate path is multifaceted and begins at home.

The Maryland State School Board is open to statement on the matter through December, and the final decision will be made a meeting on January 28th.

Schools Nationwide Considering Serious Crackdown on Punishments


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