Yes - and no. Certainly zero tolerance policies help when dealing with the lawyers, but they are overall stupid. Why would you not consider the individual situation when deciding on a consequence? However, I'd like to see a list (even one name) of students who have been prosecuted for violating the dress code or for laughing in class. As for criminal prosecutions for fights, I approve of that option when the fight gets out of hand or is unprovoked. This speech is another racial wedge based on nothing in the real world.
Principals are scared to death of having any personal input into a child's punishment. At its worst you have blacks claiming punishments against their children are racist but you have all manner of parents who think their little angle can do no wrong and will hassle principals for any disciplinary action. It is simply easier (and wrong and cowardly) for administration to say "well, this is the district zero tolerance approved punishment and it is out of my hands."