Texas Senators Say State’s School Discipline Policies Too Harsh

AUSTIN (October 30, 2012)--Texas Senators from both sides of the aisle said Tuesday the state may have gone too far in imposing a zero tolerance policy for bad behavior in schools.

The Senate Education and Criminal Justice Committees, which were meeting jointly Tuesday to discuss how schools can better treat troublesome students, heard testimony on how minority and special-needs students are far more likely to face disciplinary action than other kids.

Senators also complained that school police are writing too many tickets to everyone, sometimes for small infractions.

State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas noted that, on average, more than 80 percent of male black students had faced disciplinary action at least once, calling that "ridiculous."

Sens. Florence Shapiro and John Whitmire said ticket-writing at school was out of control and that zero tolerance shouldn't trump common sense.

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