Governor Charlie Crist recently made a stop at Robert E. Lee High School to sign the Zero Tolerance Bill (SB 1540). This bill requires school boards to revise their zero-tolerance policies so that petty acts of misconduct and misdemeanors do not have to be reported to a law enforcement agency. It encourages school districts to use alternatives to expulsion or referral to law enforcement agencies.
Joining Governor Crist was Lee High Principal Denise Hall, as well as Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals, Deputy Superintendent Pat Willis, School Board Chair Tommy Hazouri, School Board members Vicki Drake and W.C. Gentry, Florida’s Education Commissioner Eric Smith, and the Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Frank Peterman.
Also standing with the Governor were Senator Stephen Wise and State Representative Jennifer Carroll, who both helped sponsor the bill, which faced no opposition in the House and Senate.
Senator Wise said that the bill will also result in financial savings, as students will no longer be arrested for minor violations that require court and attorney fees.
Each school district will now define in their zero-tolerance policies what will be considered major and minor offenses.
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