Nick Stuban never thought he would get kicked out of school for possessing a legal drug, but he was.  A hearing before the Fairfax County School Board that he and his parents hoped would redeem him instead resembled an adversarial courtroom dominated by a hostile prosecutor.  After his expulsion, his surroundings and social networks were upended and before long, the model student and athlete took his life. Sadly, Nick’s and another teen’s suicide in Fairfax County, Virginia recently drew much-needed attention to the grim unintended consequences of zero tolerance policies. These policies cover both licit and illicit drug possession in public schools, and are some of the worst excesses of our nation’s failed drug war.

We at SSDP are working to educate the public about the failure of zero tolerance policies, their predictable, fatal consequences when directed at their target young people, and the violations of basic human rights when zero tolerance policies are enforced.