Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Criminalization of School Discipline in Massachusetts' Three Largest School Districts

 Read this article-- although for poor families and families of color, it's a scenario we know all too well. Want to get involved in changing the picture?  Contact the Springfield Student Advocacy Project, (413) 342-0080, Email: SpringfieldSAP@gmail.com

Arrested Futures: The Criminalization of School Discipline in Massachusetts' Three Largest School Districts

from the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Massachusetts, Citizens for Juvenile Justice
Principal Author: Robin L. Dahlberg
From the Executive Summary:
On October 23, 2007, a 14-year-old boy at the Kennedy Middle School in Springfield, Massachusetts, was arrested after he refused to walk with a teacher to her office and instead returned to his classroom. According to the police report, he yelled at the teacher, bounced a basketball in a school hallway, failed to respond to a police officer’s request to go with the teacher and slammed his classroom door shut. He was subsequently taken into police custody, handcuffed, transported to the police station and charged with “disturbing a lawful assembly.”
This incident illustrates a matter of growing concern to educators, parents and advocates: the extent to which the permanent on-site presence of police officers in public schools results in the criminalization of disruptive behavior. While other research has focused on zero-tolerance policies and the overuse of out-of-school suspension and expulsion as significant factors in feeding the “School-to-Prison Pipeline,” this report focuses on the additional problem of arrest, in particular the use of arrest to address behavior that would likely be handled in the school by school staff if not for the presence of on-site officers.
Published on American Civil Liberties Union (http://www.aclu.org)
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2 comments:

Doug Shullaw said...

As I Can see and understand, the 14 year old was disruptive and in need to redirecting of his behavior. It is not the intention of school resource officers to arrest kids for behaviors unless those behaviors reach a criminal context. In this case, I believe the child needed to be escorted to a location within the school and given a task to help redirect him. This task might include: social integration, academic instruction, or even physical activity (he was carrying a basketball) to help relieve the stress and energy he was feeling which made him distracted from his obligations. Incarceration, arrest, and so forth, is not a way of making school comfortable for kids. Give them something to do which will keep their interest.

Doug Shullaw said...

As I Can see and understand, the 14 year old was disruptive and in need to redirecting of his behavior. It is not the intention of school resource officers to arrest kids for behaviors unless those behaviors reach a criminal context. In this case, I believe the child needed to be escorted to a location within the school and given a task to help redirect him. This task might include: social integration, academic instruction, or even physical activity (he was carrying a basketball) to help relieve the stress and energy he was feeling which made him distracted from his obligations. Incarceration, arrest, and so forth, is not a way of making school comfortable for kids. Give them something to do which will keep their interest.