Georgia's zero tolerance school policies are getting an overhaul. SB299 would give school officials more discretion to handle discipline problems. The bill would stop the widespread use of rigid zero tolerance policies that currently mandate arrest and jail for children, and encourage principals to use common sense. It passed the senate without opposition and now heads for the House.
Sponsor Emanuel Jones ( D-Decatur) got involved when the son of a friend was kicked out of school after he accidentally brought a fishing knife to campus, then told school officials about his mistake. The boy landed in jail.
Former School Resource Officer Jason Mitchell tells the AJC he has "grave concerns about public safety" if the bill becomes law. He claims a child arrested for delinquent activity could not be held in detention without a court hearing first. And since juvenile court judges are not available 24/7, police might have to release some dangerous suspects.