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Zero Tolerance is a Nonapproach in Bullying Prevention Policy

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Despite no evidence of positive effects and compelling evidence of negative impact, some ineffective bullying prevention policies are still found in schools and communities.  Examples of this misdirection include zero tolerance, giving advice only, expecting bystanders to solve the problem, implementing piecemeal efforts, and peer-only resolution. 
Zero tolerance policies and harsh, punitive consequences are ineffective approaches to bullying prevention. Zero tolerance became a term to describe how states were responding to drug-related crimes in the United States in the 1980s (Skiba and Knesting, 2000). Conventional wisdom at the time said that by showing no tolerance for crimes, meaning no leniency, no second chances, with drug-related charges that we would reduce drug use in the United States. This did not work.  
In an effort to reduce aggression in schools, educational policymakers took a similar approach and began adopting a zero-tolerance stance for aggressive behavior.  Many sch…