School violence is the number one concern of parents of school age children. Rightfully so, the news is saturated in recent years of stories that tell us that anything and everything is imaginable at school. School administrators and state government officials have set in place many changes that include more harsh punishments for those that attempt to bring guns or other weapons to school or who try to execute bomb threats (real or not). They are also working on prevention of these incidents.
Studies continue to show that our schools are a very safe place but the public perceives schools to be increasingly unsafe. While there are incidents of violence in our schools from time to time the media coverage may play a large role in making the general public believe that they happen more often than they really do.
Because acts of violence are often accompanied by gangs and drug use, parents and administrators are demanding that tougher punishments be put in place. Essentially, most people want zero tolerance of such behaviors. Schools rely heavily on the ability to suspend or expel students for such acts.
In 1994 the Safe and Guns Free Schools Act was signed and basically means that schools will expel for a minimum of one year any student who brings a gun to school. This act started as a way to deal with guns in school but has now spread to deal with other weapons, acts of violence, drugs and alcohol as well as disruptive behavior.
While most parents and administrator are happier with the zero tolerance way of handling things, there are those that argue that it is too strict and does not take into account any extenuating circumstances.