Causes Of School To Prison Pipeline

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Throughout the years, schools have evolved in the methods they use to punish students for misbehavior. In the old days, it was a slap on the wrist or public shaming by sitting in the corner of the classroom. Then, as the years passed, the methods progressed into a trip to the principal’s office or a call home to the parents. Nowadays, troubled students are being pulled out of public schools and pushed into the juvenile justice system. This process is called the school-to-prison pipeline. The primary cause of the pipeline is zero tolerance policies. These policies severely punish students for misbehavior regardless of circumstance (Wilson 50). School shootings caused Congress to pass the Free Schools Act in 1994, which established zero tolerance…show more content…
However, zero tolerance policies are not the only cause of this school-to-prison pipeline. The addition of school resource officers also feeds the pipeline. As school resource officers are added to the environment, the number of criminal citations in schools increased dramatically (Shah 14). Students often find themselves being harassed by police officers in the halls for minor offenses (Middleton 1). This also increases the arrest rate in schools and paves a path to the juvenile justice system (“What is the School-To-Prison Pipeline?”). “The very policies that schools adopted to manage behavior and increase achievement are fostering failure and feeding the school-to-prison pipeline” (Wilson 50). The school-to-prison pipeline pushes students, especially African Americans and special needs children, out of schools through suspensions and expulsions leading them down a path to the juvenile justice system, which then fosters a culture of incarceration in the United States. As the pipeline becomes more of a national trend, legislatures and school administrators need to come together to eliminate the effects of the…show more content…
Students are being sent to court for minor offenses. Once they arrive in court, eighty percent of the time, they do not have a lawyer representing them (“What is the School-to-Prison Pipeline?”). Without proper representation, these students are not given a fair trial. Often times, they will end up with fines or prison time because of their lack of an attorney. In addition to court appearances, the average student also faces the possibility of a ticket. “275,000 nontraffic-related Class C misdemeanor tickets were issued to young people in Texas. Many of these were issued by school police officers for disorderly conduct, disruption of class, disruption of transportation, and truancy” (Fowler 17). Ordinary high school students were getting tickets for misbehaving in class instead of being sent to the principal’s office. With these tickets, students could receive up to $500 in fines and community service (Fowler 17). “Youth who are disciplined or court-involved are at increased risk of dropping out and becoming involved in the juvenile justice system” (Fowler 17). These tickets are creating a bigger entrance to the school-to-prison pipeline. Moreover, average students are also getting suspended for minor offenses. A fifth grader was suspended for using his hands to make a gun gesture. The principal called it a “level 2 lookalike
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