How to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline
According to a study by the Department of Education, more than 3 million students get suspended every year. Of those suspensions, more than 70% were for nonviolent offenses, such as disrupting class or truancy. African American students receive deferrals three times more often than their white counterparts, even though they represent only 15% of the student population.
The school-to-prison pipeline directly results from the zero-tolerance policies in schools across the country. These policies state that students will be expelled if they commit specific offenses, no matter the circumstances.
It has now become a national problem that has worsened over the years. Thousands of students are pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system yearly. This pipeline disproportionately affects students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBT students.
This article will highlight how to end the school-to-prison pipeline.
1. Schools must focus on restorative justice practices
Restorative justice is an approach that focuses on repairing the harm rather than on punishment. It is a more effective way to deal with conflict and misbehavior, as it considers the needs of all parties involved. Schools focusing on restorative justice are less likely to push students out and into the criminal justice system. It is because restorative justice practices emphasize keeping students in school.
2. Zero-tolerance policies must be gone
The first step to ending the school to prison pipeline is to do away with zero-tolerance policies. These policies are the root of the problem, pushing students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system. Also, these policies do not allow for any discretion on the part of the school administrators. It means that even if a student does not threaten the school, they can still be suspended or expelled. The fact that these policies are still in place is a travesty.
3. Schools must provide more support for students
The much-needed support for students can come in many different forms. It can be mentorship programs, tutoring, after-school programs, or anything else that can help a student succeed. When students have support, they are less likely to act out in school and are more likely to succeed. Most importantly, they are less likely to end up in the criminal justice system. And that is the ultimate goal.
4. School resource officers must be removed from schools
School resource officers are police officers stationed in schools. They are supposed to act as a resource for the students and staff, but they often end up arresting students for minor infractions. It only adds to the school-to-prison pipeline, as students who misconduct are more likely to end up in the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, many schools still have school resource officers, but they are in the process of removal
5. Students must know about their rights
Many students are unaware of their rights, which can lead to them being taken advantage of by the school system. Students must know their rights to fight back against unfair policies and practices. When students know their rights, they are less likely to be pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system. However, there needs to be a change in the system itself.
6. Parents must be involved in their child’s education
Parents play a crucial role in their child’s education. They need to be involved in their child’s school life and know what is happening. When parents are involved, they can help their children if they are having problems at school. Also, they can advocate for their child if they feel like the school is not meeting their needs. Most importantly, when parents are involved, their child is less likely to be pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system.
7. The community must proactively participate in the schools
The community must proactively participate in the schools because they are the ones who can hold the school accountable. They can also provide support for the students and the schools. When the community is involved, they can help ensure that the schools are safe and that the students succeed. Most importantly, there can be a community-wide effort to end the school-to-prison pipeline. Apart from the community, everyone has a role to play in ending the school-to-prison pipeline.
8. There must be a change in the culture of schools
The current culture is punitive and focuses on punishment. It needs to change if we want to end the school-to-prison pipeline. The culture needs to focus on helping students succeed. When the culture changes, the policies and practices will also change. And that is what is needed to end the school-to-prison pipeline. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the school-to-prison pipeline is a national problem. The problem is that schools are becoming more punitive and expelling students for minor infractions. It is a problem because it pushes students out of school and into the criminal justice system. The school-to-prison pipeline is a major contributing factor to the mass incarceration of people in the United States.
9. We need to invest in education, not incarceration
Studies have shown that every dollar invested in education has a seven-dollar return. That means that investing in education is a smart economic decision. On the other hand, for every dollar invested in incarceration, there is a three-dollar return. That means that investing in incarceration is a bad economic decision. We need to invest in education, not incarceration. Investing in education will help reduce the school-to-prison pipeline and will help to reduce the high rate of incarceration in the United States.
10. Provide support for students who are struggling
Students who are struggling need support, not punishment. When students are pushed out of school, they are more likely to end up in the criminal justice system. So, it is important to provide support for students who are struggling. It can be done in several ways, such as providing tutoring, mentoring, and after-school programs.
The school-to-prison pipeline is a national problem that needs to be addressed. Several things need to be done to end the school-to-prison pipeline. These include changing the system, involving parents, involving the community, and changing the culture of schools. Most importantly, we need to invest in education, not incarceration. When doing this, we will make a smart investment that will pay off in the long run.