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Some Parents Say Zero Tolerance Policy Punishes Students

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Catoctin High School
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FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — After the suicide of a Virginia student, Maryland school leaders are reviewing their zero tolerance policy.

As Gigi Barnett explains, some parents say it punishes innocent students.

Two weeks ago, school leaders at Catoctin High School in Frederick County suspended Skye Bogert.  It was over a fight in the school cafeteria, just before the school day.

Bogert, 15, says it was self-defense.

“She punched me in the face,” she said.

She was out of school for five days.  Her parents say she’s the victim of the school system’s zero tolerance policy because on two occasions the tenth-grader told a guidance counselor about the bullying on campus that often came by text message.

It’s the kind of case state school leaders want to review after a Virginia teen killed himself after he was suspended.

Now state school superintendent Dr. Nancy Grasmick is asking all of its 24 school districts to take a second look at zero tolerance.

Frederick County school leaders declined to talk on camera but in a written statement, school spokeswoman Marita Loose said, “We have a range of consequences for every infraction.  In every situation, there are two sides of the story and we cannot discuss this particular case.”

Grasmick’s office is conducting a review with all school districts.  They have a target date of March 22.

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