How to Stop the School–> Prison –> Pipeline

Too many students are being diverted from school into the criminal justice system

The school-to-prison pipeline “is one of our nation’s most formidable challenges,” states the report. “It arises from low expectations; low academic achievement; incorrect referral or categorization in special education; and overly harsh discipline, including suspension, expulsion, referral to law enforcement, arrest and treatment in the juvenile justice system.” And, the report notes, “Throughout these causes runs evidence of implicitly biased discretionary decisions, which, unintentionally, bring about these results.”

What the report fails to mention is that the causes are not generally biased discretionary decisions, but policies imposed on schools by legislators, regulators and school boards.  There has been a movement across the country that takes the authority away from individual schools.  Individual schools often no longer have the authority to make discipline, safety, educational or treatment decisions as their discretion has been usurped by policy makers and people removed from the classroom.

The result, while, perhaps, unintentional, was absolutely foreseeable.

When you take the authority and ability to maintain a safe and effective educational environment away from the school and educators, and place the authority in the hands of law enforcement, there will be a rise in the number of students entering the school–> to –> prison pipeline. 

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