COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- We've heard the stories of school children suspended or expelled for shaping a breakfast pastry into what looked like a gun or bringing a plastic knife to school for their lunch. One Ohio lawmaker wants to ban these so-called "zero tolerance" policies.
State Sen. Charleta Tavares, a Columbus Democrat, doesn't think it's right to punish children for seemingly innocent incidents in the same manner as students who actually intend to harm someone.
"We want common sense policies to ensure that we have the right discipline for the right infraction," Tavares said.
She says the policies sounded good in the wake of the school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in 1999, but they aren't making a difference.
"The zero tolerance policies are not supported by evidence that shows a change in behavior," she said.
In the 2010-2011 school year, Tavares says the Ohio Department of Education reported that only 6 percent of the suspensions or expulsions in the state were the result of a student bringing drugs or weapons to school. 64 percent were for disobedient or disruptive behavior.
She says her bill would give school leaders flexibility to deal with each situation on a case-by-case basis rather that going with a 'one size fits all' punishment.
Six other states, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado, and Rhode Island, currently have a similiar law in place.