Situational zero tolerance
In Hillsborough schools, zero tolerance means different things. When it comes to firearms and threats, zero tolerance means zero tolerance. That's the law in Florida. On other offenses - such as battery, drugs and alcohol - the district's zero tolerance policy requires that an incident will be fully investigated, not that all students will receive the harshest punishment across the board.
Several middle and high school principals told School Board members that they like the policy at a workshop on Tuesday. The Board wanted to make sure that students and parents understand exactly what it means.
School officials also shared some statistics why students are getting in trouble. Top offenses are inappropriate conduct (34,070), tardiness (29,346), disobedience (18,838) and disruptive behavior (16,064). Administrators pledged to work with principals to achieve greater consistency how behaviors are logged in and punished, as well as to seek targeted interventions at schools where large groups of students are getting in trouble.
- Letitia Stein, Hillsborough County education reporter