Prohibit use of Title I funds for zero-tolerance policies

Prevention, Early Intervention, & Youth
social determinants of health
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Coverage & Standards
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Federal department
house committees
House Appropriations Committee
House Education and Workforce Committee
senate committees
Senate Appropriations Committee
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee


Federal Title I education funds should not be used to support policies that foster unhealthy school climates such as zero-tolerance policies and school resource officers. Title 1 education funds should instead be used for school with social-emotional learning (SEL) programs, such as the Responsive Classroom from the Center for Responsive Schools, and executive function training programs like the ACTIVATE program in all schools.[1]


School “zero-tolerance” policies, many of which were imposed in the 1990s, for discipline encourage a strict approach, increasing the number of expulsions and suspensions for actions ranging from possessing weapons or drugs to fighting and swearing.[2][3] However, research has shown that zero-tolerance punishment is ineffective in changing student behavior and that proactively engaging students has more productive and cost-effective outcomes than punitive actions.[1][2][3][4][5]

SEL and executive function programs have proven to be an effective means for positively influencing student behaviors.[3][5] SEL programs, like the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching, engage students in developing academic, social, and emotional skills in a safe and responsive learning environment.[6] Executive function training programs like ACTIVATE improve cognitive function for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, or other learning disorders.[7] Using Federal Title I education funds, schools should replace zero-tolerance policies with SEL and executive function training programs.[1]


1. The Kennedy Forum. Navigating The New Frontier of Mental Health and Addiction: A Guide for the 115th Congress. Last Updated January 2017.

2. Skiba, Russell. Zero Tolerance: The Assumptions and the Facts. Education Policy Briefs 2 (1). Last Updated Summer 2004.

3. Perera, Rachel M. and Melissa Kay Diliberti. Survey: Understanding how U.S. public schools approach school discipline. The Brookings Institution. Last Updated January 19, 2023.

4. American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force. Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools?: An Evidentiary Review and Recommendations. American Psychologist 63 (9): 852-862. Last Updated December 2008.

5. Hulvershorn, Kristina and Shaila Mulholland. Restorative practices and the integration of social emotional learning as a path to positive school climates. Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning 11 (1):110-123. Last Updated April 17, 2018.

6. Center for Responsive Schools. Responsive Classroom Principles and Practices. Last Accessed July 26, 2023.7. C8 Sciences. Close Achievement Gaps in Education: Advanced Cognitive Training to Improve Focus, Self-Control and Memory. Last Accessed July 26, 2023.

7. C8 Sciences. Close Achievement Gaps in Education: Advanced Cognitive Training to Improve Focus, Self-Control and Memory. Last Accessed July 26, 2023.