Zero Tolerance Drug Policies and the Next Generation

In a recent article from the Washington Post, columnist Marc Fisher discussed the confusion and anger that parents are expressing over Zero Tolerance drug policies at Maryland schools. The latest debate surrounds the plight of a Fairfax County junior who committed suicide when faced with possible expulsion over a violation of the school system’s zero tolerance drug policy.

Zero tolerance movements have gained popularity in various sectors of everyday life over the last two decades. The popularity of these tough movements seems to stem from how easy they are for politicians to sell to the public. School districts in particular love zero tolerance policies because they allow the administration to point to the one-size fits all rules and declare that “they are doing something about the problem.”

According to comments offered by parents in Fisher’s column, punishments often involve expulsion, which can exacerbate their child’s troubles. In 2004, researchers Lance Lochner and Enrico Moretti published a survey in the American Economic Review revealing that graduating high school has a significant preventative effect on criminal activity. Given that kids who are experimenting with drugs are in trouble already, kicking them out of school for minor offenses worsens their chances of straightening themselves out and becoming productive members of society.

Zero tolerance drug policies may operate from the best of intentions, but their indiscriminate application may be creating the conditions spawning the next generation of criminals. The experienced Maryland criminal defense attorneys of Alpert Schreyer, LLC have  decades of experience defending those accused of criminal offenses, including drug trafficking and drug possession. If you know a friend or family member who is facing drug charges in Maryland, and would like to discuss the situation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, please contact the law offices of Alpert Schreyer, LLC at 866-444-6363.

About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.