Education has been a key factor in determining success and societal status in America since its inception. Americans aim to improve their social and economic statuses by obtaining higher education, as it is taught to them in their youth that a high-quality education is essential to survival. However, the historic and systemic racism that has plagued the United States has infiltrated the fairness of equal education. Zero tolerance policies such as the Elementary Education Act of 1965, the Guns-Free School Act of 1994, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2000, and the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 have implemented rigorous testing, safety protocols, and punitive punishments throughout the country. The state of Florida has become a major participant with zero tolerance policies implemented in all public schools across the state. This study concludes whether or not zero tolerance policies perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline in the state of Florida. By utilizing document analysis as a stand-alone approach, each of the four policies are analyzed for biased language, repeating phrases or concepts, and required protocols that result in the practice of implicit or explicit biases in Florida schools. It is concluded that there is an association between the way zero tolerance policies are implemented in Florida schools and the perpetuation of the school-to-prison pipeline. Educating others of the effects of zero tolerance policies on students of color and how it disproportionately affects them is a key factor in eliminating zero tolerance policies from schools as a whole.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Olan, Elsie L.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


School of Teacher Education



Access Status

Campus Access

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Release Date