What Do You Know About Education

Disrupting School to Prison Pipeline

Even though a report published in 2010 indicated a drop in youthful crime rates, the discipline policies in schools are taking an off-beam direction. The Department of Education for Civil Rights reported an increase in expulsion and suspensions of students in schools. The out-of-school suspensions affect black students more than the white students, and many of the expelled students either drop out school or perform poorly after getting back to school.

The youth advocates have raised concerns based on those reports, which attracted attention of prominent politicians including the Obama administration at the time. It was found that many schools are expelling or suspending students too often, and therefore the need to formulate alternative discipline policies. The youth advocates linked the current school discipline policies to the phrase “school to prison pipeline” because the policies were similar to juvenile detention.

Since older students are likely to cause trouble in school, they were funneled into the criminal justice system. Some of the common crimes committed in schools include fight, drug abuse, and personal injuries. Some of the people forcing disruptive students into criminal justice system include school administrators. Arresting of students in school occurred many times where they were put into detention centers.
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The issue of keeping students out of school as a disciplinary action was not common in the 1970s. However, the increase in violence and crime in schools has led to adoption of suspensions as a punishment. Bringing a weapon in school was also regarded as a high offense that deserved expulsion or suspension. Adoption of the zero-tolerance policies led to increase in cases of expulsion and suspensions.
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However, many school administrations misinterpreted the policy of punishing students who bring weapons in school. Even when youngsters displayed their hands like guns, many schools take it too broadly such that the students are expelled or suspended. Other schools developed other discipline policies that created tension among students. Even some minor disruptions such as talking back to a teacher could warrant a suspension punishment.

After some time, schools started using police officers as school resource officers. The police officers were actually protecting students from incidents of mass shooting. This has caused misuse of police mandates. Almost hundred thousand students were arrested and detained.

Due to arrests and prosecutions, many students got criminal juvenile records. This means a second offense will be harsher, regardless of the first punishment. Through the Obama administration, investigations on schools’ discipline policies were launched, and schools advised to create different policies. So, the new policies were created such that suspension or expulsion was the last alternative

Nowadays, various schools have established drug abuse prevention programs. The aim of the new programs is to create a stronger bond between students, teachers, and school administrators. Therefore, students that cause trouble in school can get guidance from teachers rather than being arrested by the school resource officers (SRO).