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In Texas, a state Senate committee is scheduled to consider Tuesday a bill that would allow school officials to take into account “mitigating factors” before punishing students for violating zero-tolerance policies. A House committee approved the companion bill earlier in a 6-0 vote.

The Texas legislation comes partly in response to a 2008 article in the Texas Tech Law Review, “Zeroing Out Zero Tolerance: Eliminating Zero Tolerance Policies in Texas Schools,” which concluded that such laws have failed to reduce school violence while moving more students into the juvenile-justice system.

“I believe that we should strive to keep our schools as safe as possible,” said state Sen. Mario Gallegos, the Democrat who sponsored the bill. “However, I also know that in the real world, nothing is black and white. In a world filled with gray areas, we must give our school districts the discretion to choose the appropriate punishment for those students who break the rules due to mitigating circumstances.”

Pushing the legislation is Texas Zero Tolerance, a group formed specifically to combat the state’s zero-tolerance laws. The organization is also backing another bill that would require the prompt notification of parents before disciplinary action is taken.

Fred Hink, the founder and co-director, said the organization started in response to a well-publicized 2003 case in the Houston area involving an honors student who brought a box cutter to school. It turned out her mother had given her the cutter to sharpen her pencils, which is a common practice in Korea.

Such reforms typically face opposition from teachers unions and school administrators. One concern, said Mr. Hink, is that school officials may opt to stick with the zero-tolerance policies even if the legislature gives them additional flexibility.

“The prevailing wind among school administrators is that ‘We don’t want to have to think about it. It’s just not feasible to take these things into consideration,’ ” said Mr. Hink. “It’s extremely frustrating.”