School to Prison Pipeline Solutions
The school discipline programs are taking a wrong direction regardless of a drop in juvenile crime rates. According to the Education Department for Civil Rights, disciplinary suspensions and expulsions have escalated since 2000. The report shows that black students were the most victims of suspensions and expulsion from schools.
The youth advocates have raised concerns based on those reports, which attracted attention of prominent politicians including the Obama administration at the time. The high number of students who were being expelled out of school forced a need to change the school discipline policies. Since Juvenile detention and school discipline policies were similar, the youth advocates named the situation as “school to prison pipeline”.
The older students in school are the same youth out there, and that is why they are likely to face criminal justice system whenever they cause trouble in school. Some of the criminal cases include substance abuse, fight, and personal injuries in school. The administrators were forcing students to face criminal justice system. In many occurrences, students were arrested from school and taken into detention chambers.
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However, keeping students out of school was not a common thing 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. The enactment of zero-tolerance policies contributed to increased cases of students being suspended and expelled out of school.
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However, administrators misinterpreted the weapon policy. Even talking about a weapon was a reason to expel or suspend a student out of school. Some schools came up with their own disciplinary policies. 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 not to offer the professional policing services, but to protect students from mass shooting like the one that occurred at Columbine High School. This has led to misuse of police service whereby they overuse resources that should be used in more serious and rare situations. Almost hundred thousand students were arrested and detained.
Many arrests of students and prosecutions led to blackmailing of many youngsters. This means a second offense will be harsher, regardless of the first punishment. Obama administration opened legal investigations into the school discipline policies, and schools urged to establish new policies. This was to make expulsion and suspension as a last resort.
Today, many schools have put in place restorative plans such as substance abuse prevention programs. Such policies are improving the relationship among teachers, students, and administrators. This allows students to have a chance to speak out their sources of disruptive behaviors, and then get guidance and counseling for the same.