School Discipline Policies Too Harsh, Senators Say

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AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Senators from both parties say the state may have gone too far in imposing a zero tolerance policy for bad behavior in schools.

The Senate Education and Criminal Justice Committees are meeting jointly Tuesday to discuss how schools can better treat troublesome students.

They heard testimony on how minority and special-needs students are far more likely to face disciplinary action than other kids.

Senators also complained that school police are writing too many tickets to everyone, sometimes for small infractions.

Dallas Democratic Sen. Royce West noted that, on average, more than 80 percent of male black students had faced disciplinary action at least once, calling that "ridiculous."

Sens. Florence Shapiro and John Whitmire said ticket-writing at school was out of control and that zero tolerance shouldn't trump common sense.