Atlanta Senate Unanimously Passes Zero Tolerance Bill


In a 47 to zero vote, the Atlanta Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 299, a zero tolerance bill. It includes limits that proponents of the bill say will make school officials use common sense when disciplining students for weapons violations.

The bill was introduced after Sen. Emanuel Jones tried to get 14-year-old Eli Mohone out of a juvenile detention center, reports Mohone was convicted of a felony after he inadvertently brought a fishing knife to his middle school and then voluntarily reported his error to the school office. He was expelled from the school and required to attend an alternative school for the rest of the semester.

SB 299 requires judges to hold a hearing before a student is taken into custody and bans the charging of a student as a designated felon. Furthermore, the action would be classified as a delinquent act unless the weapon was a gun or used in an assault.

Those who oppose the bill believe that juvenile court judges will have to be on duty all the time since any young person charged with a delinquent act must be brought in front of a judge prior to being detained.

Georgia schools already implements a zero tolerance law, known as OCGA 20-2-1184. This law mandates that certain offenses be reported to law enforcement, but it doesn’t mandate school discipline or arrests.

SB 299 now moves to the state House for approval.

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