Tennessee Enforces ‘Zero Tolerance’ Law to Combat Student Offenses and Mass Violence Threats
In a bid to address the rising concern of student offenses and threats of mass violence in Tennessee, a new law has been implemented for the 2023-2024 school year. The legislation, known as Senate Bill 190, imposes severe consequences for students found guilty of "zero tolerance offenses" and those who pose threats of mass violence.
Under the new law, any student who commits a zero-tolerance offense will face a mandatory suspension of at least one year. Furthermore, an amendment to the law specifies that students who threaten mass violence, leading to serious bodily injury or death of at least two people, will also face suspension. This significant step aims to ensure the safety and security of students and staff within Tennessee schools.
The decision to pass Senate Bill 190 came after a series of alarming threats made at Tennessee schools during the previous academic year, including incidents in the Tennessee Valley. Governor Bill Lee signed the bill into law on April 28, and it officially went into effect on July 1, just in time for the upcoming school year.
The bill outlines several actions that would violate the law, including unauthorized possession of a firearm on school property, assault resulting in bodily injury to teachers, principals, administrators, school resource officers, or other school employees, possession of drugs or controlled substances on school grounds or during a school-sponsored event, and threats of mass violence towards a school.
However, the law does provide an exception in cases where the school director modifies the expulsion on a case-by-case basis, offering some flexibility for unique circumstances.
Senate Bill 190 received unanimous support from the Senate, demonstrating a collective commitment to maintaining a safe learning environment. In the House, the bill passed with a substantial majority of 79-16.
With the implementation of this new law, Tennessee is taking proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of students and educators alike. By establishing a zero tolerance policy and addressing the threat of mass violence, the state is working towards fostering a secure educational environment for all.