State law discourages district use of zero tolerance approaches and encourages school administrator discretion in determining sanctions for violations of school policy.
Florida Statutes 1006.13 Policy of zero tolerance for crime and victimization.
(1) District school boards shall promote a safe and supportive learning environment in schools by protecting students and staff from conduct that poses a threat to school safety. A threat assessment team may use alternatives to expulsion or referral to law enforcement agencies to address disruptive behavior through restitution, civil citation, teen court, neighborhood restorative justice, or similar programs. Zero-tolerance policies may not be rigorously applied to petty acts of misconduct. Zero-tolerance policies must apply equally to all students regardless of their economic status, race, or disability.
(2) Each district school board shall adopt a policy of zero tolerance that:
(a) Defines criteria for reporting to a law enforcement agency any act that poses a threat to school safety that occurs whenever or wherever students are within the jurisdiction of the district school board.
(b) Defines acts that pose a threat to school safety.
(c) Defines petty acts of misconduct which are not a threat to school safety and do not require consultation with law enforcement.
(d) Minimizes the victimization of students, staff, or volunteers, including taking all steps necessary to protect the victim of any violent crime from any further victimization.
(e) Establishes a procedure that provides each student with the opportunity for a review of the disciplinary action imposed pursuant to s. 1006.07.
(f) Requires the threat assessment team to consult with law enforcement when a student exhibits a pattern of behavior, based upon previous acts or the severity of an act, that would pose a threat to school safety.
(3) Zero-tolerance policies must require students found to have committed one of the following offenses to be expelled, with or without continuing educational services, from the student’s regular school for a period of not less than 1 full year, and to be referred to the criminal justice or juvenile justice system.