Tags: Voting Rights | school prison pipeline

What is the School-to-Prison Pipeline?

By    |   Tuesday, 26 May 2015 02:01 PM

There are currently over four times as many police officers stationed in the nation’s public school system than are stationed in the nation’s capital.

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The School-to-Prison Pipeline, a term coined to characterize the policies and practices within the U.S. school system that, as the ACLU says, “reflects the prioritization of incarceration over education” is blamed for the increasing police presence in schools. The School-to-Prison Pipeline is an explanation of why certain minority groups tend to go straight from the public school system into the prison system.

The ACLU attributes zero-tolerance policies including expulsion and suspension, policing of school hallways, and disciplinary alternative schools as 3 of the main causes of the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

Zero tolerance policies impose severe punishments without proper due process protections. Such policies that remove students who are in trouble from school leads to students becoming disengaged with their studies, further encouraging them to drop out of school, which ultimately increases the likelihood of ending up in the prison system.

Rather than hiring trained administrators to deal with student conduct, the number of school resource officers, police officers stationed to police school hallways, has increased in recent years. As a result, school based arrests for disruptive behavior has become more common, further contributing to the School-to-Prison Pipeline issue. The New York Times reports that there are over 17,000 police officers in the public school system.

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Disciplinary alternative schools send students from regulated public schools to inferior facilities with no educational standards. Disciplinary alternative schools hinder students’ abilities and opportunities to learn, placing them at a disadvantage even after returning to the public school system.

The School-to-Prison Pipeline is an issue that has sparked advocacy throughout the country. Texas Appleseed, a non-profit organization that reports the effects of school disciplinary policies issued a report in March 2015 that identified African-American and Hispanic students and students with disabilities as being most harmed by the School-to-Prison Pipeline. The Texas organization has issued multiple statements and lobbying efforts to end policies that contribute to the Pipeline. Californians for Safety and Justice, another non-profit organization, has launched the #SchoolsNotPrisons public education campaign. The campaign has created multiple petitions and PSAs to educate the populace about the effect of the Pipeline as well as making a social media mark.

Californians for Safety and Justice use their celebrity support from rapper Chuck D. to endorse their cause.

Shalini Palmer expresses her concerns over the appropriation of state funds using the #schoolsnotprisons Twitter handle.

Policy issues concerning the School-to-Prison Pipeline have also arisen in Maryland, Nevada, Virginia, and others.

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There are currently over four times as many police officers stationed in the nation’s public school system than are stationed in the nation’s capital.
school prison pipeline
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 02:01 PM
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