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Schoolkids Join Labor-Backed Group to Protest ‘Zero Tolerance’ Laws

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 5:22 PM

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Schoolkids protest

A few dozen school-age students joined a union-backed coalition at the Statehouse today for a small but vocal protest. Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler reports they were demonstrating against “zero tolerance” policies that result in kids being kicked out of school.

The group which included some students who’d been suspended or expelled from elementary school, held up signs reading, “Give kids second chances,” and “More help, less punishment.”

Molly Shack with the Ohio Student Association says the worst stories she’s heard involve suspensions at schools she says are underfunded and under-resourced.

“These are not what the policies were intended for – for serious fights or for weapons or for drugs,” Shack said. “These are for kids being disruptive or being late. We have kids that get suspended for truancy, actually.”

The group is supporting a bill that would overturn the 16-year-old state law requiring schools to adopt zero tolerance policies, but it would still require mandatory year-long expulsions of students who bring guns to school.

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