Most US schools have a "zero tolerance" policy barring students from bringing weapons and drugs to school
These policies cropped up about 20 years ago after a federal anti-gun law was passed
Some recent events show how zero tolerance policies may go too far in punishing students
Make sure you and your child understand the school's policy
Schools across the US have "zero tolerance" policies. You'll find them in elementary schools, high schools and colleges and universities. They're supposed to make the schools safe learning environments by keeping weapons and drugs out of them. As some recent events show, however, perhaps they go too far?
What Are They and Where Did They Come From?
Zero tolerance policies make punishment swift and harsh for all kinds of misbehavior by students. The "misbehavior" may be:
Having a weapon, like a gun or knife, on school grounds
Having or using drugs or alcohol on school grounds
Threatening other students or school staff with physical violence
Punishment can range from anything between detention (or "staying after school"), to a few days' suspension, to expulsion from the school.
You may think that zero tolerance policies started after the Columbine school shooting in 1999. That's when two high school students went on a shooting rampage at their school, killing 13 and injuring 24 students and school staff. The students also killed themselves. What's a "Zero Tolerance" Policy? - Lawyers.com