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Wed Apr 15, 2015, 07:37 PM

School-to-prison pipeline ignores difference between misbehavior and crime

In way too many schools across America, what used to be counted as childish misbehavior, even childish defiance, gets labeled as criminality. Our children are being turned over to the police and funneled into courtrooms for doing things that wouldn't have been treated as crimes in their parents' or grandparents' day.

Public Radio International published on its website Friday a story about a Virginia 6th grader who has been diagnosed with autism being hit with a criminal offense for kicking over a trash can. A police officer assigned to the school who saw Kayleb Moon-Robinson kick over the trash can booked him with disorderly conduct."

*In 2012, Judge Steven C. Teske, a juvenile court judge in Georgia, told the Senate Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, that the attention of prosecutors in Clayton County had been diverted away "from the more difficult evidentiary and 'scary' cases -- burglary, robberies, car thefts, aggravated assaults with weapons." They had instead turned "to prosecuting kids that are not 'scary,' but made an adult mad."

That judge said the year before police were placed in the schools in his county, there had been 49 students referred to juvenile court. Eight years later, the number was 1,400, a 2,757 percent increase.

http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2015/04/school_prison_pipeline.html

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Reply School-to-prison pipeline ignores difference between misbehavior and crime (Original post)
damnedifIknow Apr 2015 OP
Trillo Apr 2015 #1

Response to damnedifIknow (Original post)

Wed Apr 15, 2015, 10:41 PM

1. Much of Teske's testimony makes sense and is a good read, but...

When I took the bench in 1999, I was shocked to find that approximately one-third of the cases in my courtroom were school-related, of which most were low risk misdemeanor offenses. Upon reviewing our data, the increase in school arrests did not begin until after police were placed on our middle and high school campuses in 1996—well before the horrific shootings at Columbine High School. The year before campus police, my court received only 49 school referrals. By 2004, the referrals increased over 1,000 percent to 1,400 referrals, of which 92% were misdemeanors mostly involving school fights, disorderly conduct, and disrupting public school.


Despite the many arrests, school safety did not improve. The number of serious weapons brought to campus increased during this period of police arrests including guns, knives, box cutter knives, and straight edge razors. Of equal concern was the decrease in the graduation rates during this same period—it reached an all-time low in 2003 of 58%. It should come to no one’s surprise that the more students we arrested, suspended, and expelled from our school system, the juvenile crime rate in the community significantly increased. These kids lost one of the greatest protective buffers against delinquency—school connectedness.


...if arrests didn't soar until police were placed in school campuses, and if the increase in weapons increased as a result of their presence, then why keep this ill conceived idea? Well, he tells us:

... the aim of school policing is to gather intelligence on student activity ...

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