“(Our goal) is to prevent at risk youth from dropping out of school and to provide dropouts and youth returning from correctional facilities with a support system to ensure their continued education.”
– Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education
Many public schools are still operating under the 1999 “Zero Tolerance” initiative, which tied federal funding to this mandate. “Zero Tolerance,” which came about after the horrifying Columbine tragedy, demands that kids be removed from schools the first time they transgress—even for minor offenses. This puts them into the juvenile justice system—a system that those who work within its confines admit too often does a better job of punishment than rehabilitation and re-integration into schools.