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  1. #1
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    School to Prison

    School to Prison Pipeline
    By Bob Herbert
    The New York Times
    Saturday 09 June 2007
    The latest news-as-entertainment spectacular is the Paris Hilton criminal justice fiasco. She's in! She's out! She's - whatever.
    Far more disturbing (and much less entertaining) is the way school officials and the criminal justice system are criminalizing children and teenagers all over the country, arresting them and throwing them in jail for behavior that in years past would never have led to the intervention of law enforcement.
    This is an aspect of the justice system that is seldom seen. But the consequences of ushering young people into the bowels of police precincts and jail cells without a good reason for doing so are profound.
    Two months ago I wrote about a 6-year-old girl in Florida who was handcuffed by the police and taken off to the county jail after she threw a tantrum in her kindergarten class.
    Police in Brooklyn recently arrested more than 30 young people, ages 13 to 22, as they walked toward a subway station, on their way to a wake for a teenage friend who had been murdered. No evidence has been presented that the grieving young people had misbehaved. No drugs or weapons were found. But they were accused by the police of gathering unlawfully and of disorderly conduct.
    In March, police in Baltimore handcuffed a 7-year-old boy and took him into custody for riding a dirt bike on the sidewalk. The boy tearfully told The Baltimore Examiner, "They scared me." Mayor Sheila Dixon later apologized for the arrest.
    Children, including some who are emotionally disturbed, are often arrested for acting out. Some are arrested for carrying sharp instruments that they had planned to use in art classes, and for mouthing off.
    This is a problem that has gotten out of control. Behavior that was once considered a normal part of growing up is now resulting in arrest and incarceration.
    Kids who find themselves caught in this unnecessary tour of the criminal justice system very quickly develop malignant attitudes toward law enforcement. Many drop out - or are forced out - of school. In the worst cases, the experience serves as an introductory course in behavior that is, in fact, criminal.
    There is a big difference between a child or teenager who brings a gun to school or commits some other serious offense and someone who swears at another student or gets into a wrestling match or a fistfight in the playground. Increasingly, especially as zero-tolerance policies proliferate, children are being treated like criminals for the most minor offenses.
    There should be no obligation to call the police if a couple of kids get into a fight and teachers are able to bring it under control. But now, in many cases, youngsters caught fighting are arrested and charged with assault.
    A 2006 report on disciplinary practices in Florida schools showed that a middle school student in Palm Beach County who was caught throwing rocks at a soda can was arrested and charged with a felony - hurling a "deadly missile."
    We need to get a grip.

    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/060907C.shtml

  2. #2
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    Interesting article. I do see that happening to a degree in my area.
    On a related note,one thing that is very frustrating about our local LE is the way they target our youth.
    My boys and their friends have all been pulled over by LE or searched just because they were teens.
    While they have the right to not let the cops search their car, not letting them often leads to more problems.
    My son had pulled into a public, busy parking lot one night. 2 cops came over and asked him what he was doing. he said he was going in for food.
    They said there was a lot of meth dealing out of that restaurant and did he know anything about it. This was like a Panda Express in a very nice area. He,, of course said no.

    They asked if they could search him and his car. Being 17 he of course said yes. This was about 2 weeks after halloween and they found his halloween mask in the trunk and accused him of being a burglar and did he use that mask on his burglaries!
    They gave him a hard time, there was nothing illegal in or about his car and they sent him on his way.
    Even if after they hassled them and found nothing if the cops reinforced their good behavior it would go a long way. but instead they take an attitude with all the young people around here, like we'll get you next time. It's awful.
    Consequently, it is hard for all the young people around here to look up to our LE. It's a real problem. I could tell you hundreds of stories like this from all the differnt kids around here.
    My gf's son pulled into a parking place and nicked a car as he pulled in. he went inside a store to ask for a pen and paper to write a note. As the shopkeeper was handing him the pen and paper, the cops came in cuffed him and arrested him for hit and run! he was right in front of the car! Even the shopkeeper said hey he just asked for a pencil and paper to write a note. Cops said too bad. he still has those charges pending.

  3. #3
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    http://www.sentinel-echo.com/archive...151175709.html

    Students plead not guilty to second-degree disorderly conduct
    South Laurel seniors were arrested for starting food fight
    By Tara Kaprowy
    Staff Writer

    The five seniors who were arrested for starting a food fight at South Laurel High School pleaded not guilty to second-degree disorderly conduct Wednesday.

    Joshua Elam, Kelvin Lucas, Christopher Mills, Michael Stansbury and Austin Williams are scheduled for a pretrial conference at 8:30 a.m. June 12.

    The food fight happened around 12:45 p.m. May 24 while the school cafeteria was filled with about 150 people.

    The fight started when about a dozen students started pounding on the tables. Soon, about 40 students were throwing mashed potatoes, green beans, apple sauce, chicken fingers and biscuits around the room.

    In the meantime, substitute teacher Tony McDaniel was struck, though the seniors said they don’t know how the injury occurred.

    About a minute after it had begun, School Resource Officer Ed Herd, teachers and administrators, all of whom were in the cafeteria at the time, stopped the food fight.

    Believing the five seniors — along with Chris Brady, who is under 18 and was not charged — were the main instigators of the fight, Herd hauled them to the front office. The five seniors were arrested, put into handcuffs and brought to police headquarters.

    The seniors then spent the rest of the day and part of the evening in the Laurel County Detention Center. In addition to the charge, they were banned from school property and from their graduation ceremony Saturday.

    Second-degree disorderly conduct is considered a Class-B misdemeanor, which can result in up to 90 days in jail and a $250 fine

    This group of kids included the following: the Class President, the Valedictorian, and three of the upper-level students in their class. Supposedly they were warned, but none of the students who had to miss their Graduation or sit in Jail for a few hours were told about this "warning." Supposedly one teacher got hit with some food -- yet this is the biggest deal about it.

    They are supposed to be back in court next week. I'll be interested to see if they get anything or if their charges will be dropped since they already have their diplomas. They got them in the mail last week.

  4. #4
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    Stories like this make me sick. It seems like society has decided to act really tough on the weakest "offenders" just so that no one notices how ineffective we are at solving real problems.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by natasha-cupcake View Post
    Stories like this make me sick. It seems like society has decided to act really tough on the weakest "offenders" just so that no one notices how ineffective we are at solving real problems.
    Excellent point, natasha-cupcake!
    I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death!

  6. #6
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    [quote=kygal;1523430]http://www.sentinel-echo.com/archive...151175709.html

    Students plead not guilty to second-degree disorderly conduct
    South Laurel seniors were arrested for starting food fight
    By Tara Kaprowy
    Staff Writer

    The five seniors who were arrested for starting a food fight at South Laurel High School pleaded not guilty to second-degree disorderly conduct Wednesday.


    Now we are arresting kids for food fights.

  7. #7
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    Background:

    School used to have one of the sorriest excuses for a principal that existed. Has been accused of "skirt chasing" with both staff and students. He got fired for violating a restraining order brought by his ex-wife. The new principal has not been teaching that long, and feels that she needs to clean house in the school. Thus, it ends up being things like this.

    OH, and some of the things you can be expelled for in that school system: cigarettes, lighters, nail clippers, nail polish (supposedly for the smell), hair spray, glass bottles (like you can find those anymore), string longer than two inches, taking any sort of drug / alcohol BEFORE school starts (or suspicion of), and all the things you'd THINK would be dangerous (guns, knives, etc.) Heck, they stripped searched my brother for a month (female principal too) without anyone knowing -- including my mom -- becasue a guy who'd shot himself in the head said that his neighbor or my brother must be bringing a gun to school.

    When I went there, the schools had keyed locks on the stalls in the bathrooms, and the principals would go in and unlock the doors to see if you had any of the above. I can't tell you how many times I've had my door swing open -- and the male principals were usually the ones do it (case you didn't catch on -- I'm female). They would make a big deal that it "had to be done to make sure the school was safe." Yeah, sure, whatever.

    AND THIS IS RURAL AMERICA -- NOT A BIG CITY! I think it is a travesty that we can't let kids be kids, make their mistakes, and teach them differently other than just passing the buck to someone else in government and putting them in jail for any amount of time. I really find it hilarious that they might even have to go to jail for 90 days -- it's not like anyone was really seriously injured.

    This is part of the reason I refused to take a job there and effectively ended my teaching career. I don't want to be part of anything like this -- or know that my children will be in that soon. The school system they are in now does not have as much money, but they do have common sense and respect the wishes of parents about their school children.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kygal View Post
    Background:

    School used to have one of the sorriest excuses for a principal that existed. Has been accused of "skirt chasing" with both staff and students. He got fired for violating a restraining order brought by his ex-wife. The new principal has not been teaching that long, and feels that she needs to clean house in the school. Thus, it ends up being things like this.

    OH, and some of the things you can be expelled for in that school system: cigarettes, lighters, nail clippers, nail polish (supposedly for the smell), hair spray, glass bottles (like you can find those anymore), string longer than two inches, taking any sort of drug / alcohol BEFORE school starts (or suspicion of), and all the things you'd THINK would be dangerous (guns, knives, etc.) Heck, they stripped searched my brother for a month (female principal too) without anyone knowing -- including my mom -- becasue a guy who'd shot himself in the head said that his neighbor or my brother must be bringing a gun to school.

    When I went there, the schools had keyed locks on the stalls in the bathrooms, and the principals would go in and unlock the doors to see if you had any of the above. I can't tell you how many times I've had my door swing open -- and the male principals were usually the ones do it (case you didn't catch on -- I'm female). They would make a big deal that it "had to be done to make sure the school was safe." Yeah, sure, whatever.

    AND THIS IS RURAL AMERICA -- NOT A BIG CITY! I think it is a travesty that we can't let kids be kids, make their mistakes, and teach them differently other than just passing the buck to someone else in government and putting them in jail for any amount of time. I really find it hilarious that they might even have to go to jail for 90 days -- it's not like anyone was really seriously injured.

    This is part of the reason I refused to take a job there and effectively ended my teaching career. I don't want to be part of anything like this -- or know that my children will be in that soon. The school system they are in now does not have as much money, but they do have common sense and respect the wishes of parents about their school children.
    And you haven't sued....WHY?

    These stories are making my head spin.

  9. #9
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    Good for Bob Herbert of the NY Times for writing this story, especially the small mentally unbalanced children being arrested due to their behavior problems. The school Kygal mentioned sounds more like a prison than a school for minor kids. I think my disabled husband would have been whooping someone's a$$ if a man opened the door to my daughters' bathroom stall. However, a substitute teacher flirted with and tried to physically detain my teen daughter after a class that was secluded at the back of the school. She was convinced that he was going to abduct her because he had pulled his car around by the back door. She got away due to kicking him in the groin. School is not a fit place for lots of kids anymore because of the loony tune Hitler like school system and law enforcement that is putting up with it from them, but not from the students.

  10. #10
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    If this school is expelling for as many offenses as you indicate KyGal, NCLB will take care of it. If schools lose too many students for whatever reason (including expulsion), they do not make AYP. If the number is high enough, the school automatically becomes a "failing" school.

    The school where I taught stopped expelling or even giving out of school suspension for this reason. One boy beat the crap out of a girl because she wouldn't give him a dollar. She spent several nights in the hospital and had to have reconstructive surgery on her face. He got three days in school suspension. The parents chose to withdraw the girl because they felt she would not be safe. (The local authorities did nothing.) In another instance, one of our students--who was a registered sex offender--got caught climbing into the ceiling area of the boys' restroom, so that he could "peep" into the girls' restroom. He got one day ISS. Of course, when he raped his sister then over Christmas break, the law took him away.
    Guess why I left?
    I don't understand why some schools enforce stupid policies and others can't even enforce LAWS!!!


  11. #11
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    Pandora, the school system is on tier III of NCLB -- NCLB isn't the cure-all that everyone thinks it is. Most of the reason for this is the retention rate (too many leaving school), but they NCLB *does not* count expulsions in that rate. I checked to find out. As far as I know, enough parents complained that they now are required to have at least one male and one female in administration (be it principals or counselors) and if anything else as such.

    Oh and for our part, we DID sue the school system, and we won. Let's just say that college was paid for with me -- my brother did end up dropping out. The prinicpals involved are no longer in the school system -- and one lost their certification and is barred from teaching nationally.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kygal View Post
    Pandora, the school system is on tier III of NCLB -- NCLB isn't the cure-all that everyone thinks it is. Most of the reason for this is the retention rate (too many leaving school), but they NCLB *does not* count expulsions in that rate. I checked to find out. As far as I know, enough parents complained that they now are required to have at least one male and one female in administration (be it principals or counselors) and if anything else as such.

    Oh and for our part, we DID sue the school system, and we won. Let's just say that college was paid for with me -- my brother did end up dropping out. The prinicpals involved are no longer in the school system -- and one lost their certification and is barred from teaching nationally.
    Good for you. Sorry your brother dropped out.

  13. #13
    tennessee is offline Blew out my flipflop. Stepped on a pop top . . .
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    According to my daughter, who will be a senior next year, they local high school administration is also going to ban handbags and get this ....... ponytails! Yes, you read right, ponytails. Too much of a distraction. We will have to wait until school starts August 8 and see what happens.

    If you make these kids feel like they are in prison, they are going to act like they are in prison. Don't punish the many because you have a few who are acting out.
    Opinions are like belly buttons. Everyone's got one. This one is mine.

  14. #14
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    Over here they are not allowed to have them over a certain size (so no huge totes or anything like that) or have backpacks in the classrooms -- but they can have them in their lockers. The purse issue here was that the kids don't keep them out of the floor so anyone needing to be on the floor could trip over them. Convinced that parents it was a "fire hazard" because if there was a fire people could trip in the rush and get hurt -- or not be able to get out.

    The tried to ban the scrunchy thingys (the things that you use to put up your hair -- not the bands) because of some sort of boy/girl issues (don't exactly understand what it was though). But too many parents thought it was rediculous so pretty much the rule was negated by end of fall semester.

    The parents around here have pretty much got the school board on a leash here. And the school board leaves much of the stuff up to the principals and individual teachers to do as far as rules and such. They have a few rules that are laid in stone, but otherwise the principal is the main person in charge. I think it's because all of the people on the school board here are parents -- and most have been teachers at one time. They know what's going on and are also looking for what's in the best interest of getting kids through school safely and learning at the same time.

  15. #15
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    All these stories make my head spin.

    I remember a story around the Dallas area last year when a 5 year old was arrested and handcuffed at school for hugging another child - they called it "sexual harrasment."



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