Q: Just what IS "Zero Tolerance"??
A: "A zero tolerance policy is generally defined as a school or district policy that mandates predetermined consequences or punishment for specific offenses, regardless of the circumstances or disciplinary history of the student."-- Julie Underwood, General Counsel for the National School Boards Association
Q: My child has never been in trouble and has no disciplinary problems. Do I have to worry about Zero Tolerance?
A: Believe it or not, yes, you do. To deny the possibility of Zero Tolerance happening to your child is akin to thinking you'll never have a car accident because you're a good driver, and you have nothing to worry about. Consider the possibility that you never know what the other guy will do!
Q: They want to expel my child and they won't listen to reason! What do I do?
If you, or some one you know, is experiencing a Zero Tolerance Nightmare right now, educate yourself on all the materials on this site, and get legal help. Contact The Rutherford Institute or find a lawyer online. And tell other parents!
Q. What about Expulsion Hearings? My School District claims that this is the only "due process" my child is entitled to.
Not true. By the time a situation reaches to the level of an Expulsion Hearing, guilt has already been assumed and the result is a foregone conclusion. The hearing we refer to is the one that is supposed to be held to determine guilt in the first place. For this reason, instruct your child not to sign any suspension slips or waivers in your absence as he will in effect be signing away his rights, and all without your knowing about it.
Q: My child has already been expelled and I feel like we've been railroaded. What do we do now?
A: The first thing you can do is to appeal the expulsion. In the State of Delaware, you have 30 days from the date of expulsion to file your appeal to the State Board of Education. Unfortunately, some school districts are withholding this critical information from parents.
Also, if you do not think you got fair treatment from your school district, write up a formal complaint to your school superintendent and your local Board of Education about the school employees who treated you and your child unfairly. If they do not attempt to remedy the situation to your satisfaction, a copy of those complaints and their response can be filed with your State appeal, the Office for Civil Rights, and/or your state's Professional Licensing Board.
Q: My child was expelled and the school district retaliated against us. This is unfair. What can we do now?
A: You can file an official complaint against your school district with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). If OCR, after investigating a charge of discrimination against a school, school district, or college, determines that a violation of the law has occurred and conciliation efforts are unsuccessful, the Department of Education may refer the charge to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice may, within its prosecutorial discretion, initiate litigation.