school-to-prison pipeline: families have no voice

Schools Not Jails
Schools Not Jails
(Photo credit: aclu.socal)
You can view the webcast of yesterday's  hearing here. Families are disempowered by compulsory attendance laws that have effectively placed schools in the position of policing families instead of providing a social service. Because families and parents have no real power, schools have no structural incentive to listen to families. Working-class families and minorities are especially vulnerable in an institution with no break on its police power over families.

This wasn't planned when compulsory attendance was for a few seasons of skill building in agricultural communities. Rapid expansion of this system left us with an institution with no structural ties to the people it serves. Corporations, police and education quants --- of all kinds of groups have access to our schools but families are locked out from anything but selling candy bars.

Groundbreaking Senate Hearing Shines a Light on the School-to-Prison Pipeline:   Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights will hold a landmark hearing entitled, Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline. It is the first time a congressional panel will look at this disturbing national trend where children are pushed out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems because of an overreliance on punitive school discipline policies.

Many have linked the growth of the pipeline to zero-tolerance policies that removed educators’ discretion over how to properly respond to student misbehavior. The unintended effects of severe school discipline, often for minor infractions, include further alienation from the school setting, decreased graduation rates, and increased interaction with the criminal justice system.
United States criminal justice system flowchart.
United States criminal justice system flowchart. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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