What do you expect to find behind this barbed wire fence, a jail?
What you don’t see is that this barbed wire fence surrounds a middle school that I pass on my way to work. What message does this send to our youth? That we prioritize locking kids up over their education?
“The School-To-Prison Pipeline” refers to the rules that drive our children out of classrooms and into the justice system. One example of the school to prison pipeline is the increased number of police in school hallways. This is a problem because majority of the school officers often have little or NO training when it comes to working with our youth, resulting in a high number of school-based arrests. The majority of these arrests are for non-violent offenses such as disruptive behavior.
Schools have also implemented Zero-Tolerance Policies which AUTOMATICALLY inflict severe punishments REGARDLESS of the circumstances. Under these policies, youth are not only suspended, but also EXPELLED just for bringing nail clippers or scissors to school. Due to Zero Tolerance Policies rates of suspension have increased dramatically in recent years. This is a problem because these kids fall behind in their school work and are more likely to drop out. The majority of the kids who are suspended or expelled are often left unsupervised and without positive and constructive activities.
All of these factors increase the likelihood of court involvement. These harsh disciplinary policies push students down the pipeline and into the criminal justice system.
-Christian B., Just Kids Youth Leader