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Disrupting School to Prison Pipeline The school discipline programs are taking a wrong direction regardless of a drop in juvenile crime rates. The Department of Education for Civil Rights reported an increase in expulsion and suspensions of students in schools. The report shows that black students were the most victims of suspensions and expulsion from schools. The youth advocates have raised concerns based on those reports, which attracted attention of prominent politicians including the Obama administration at the time. The high number of students who were being expelled out of school forced a need to change the school discipline policies. Since Juvenile detention and school discipline policies were similar, the youth advocates named the situation as “school to prison pipeline”. The older students in school are the same youth out there, and that is why they are likely to face criminal justice system whenever they cause trouble in school. A few of these offenses include fighting, personal injuries, and drug abuse. The schools’ administrations are at the forefront to push students who cause trouble into the criminal justice system. In many occurrences, students were arrested from school and taken into detention chambers.
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Keeping students out of school was a rare case in the 1970s. However, the increase in violence and crime in schools has led to adoption of suspensions as a punishment. For instance, bringing a weapon in school was a one year punishable crime. The enactment of zero-tolerance policies contributed to increased cases of students being suspended and expelled out of school.
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However, many school administrations misinterpreted the policy of punishing students who bring weapons in school. Even when youngsters displayed their hands like guns, many schools take it too broadly such that the students are expelled or suspended. Other schools developed other discipline policies that created tension among students. Even those small misbehaviors such as missing a class could get a student expelled. After a while, administrators started relying on state police officers in the form of school resource officers (SRO), who are stationed in various schools. The police officers were actually protecting students from incidents of mass shooting. This resulted in misuse of police responsibilities while in schools. So, thousands of students have been arrested in school and then detained. Many arrests of students and prosecutions led to blackmailing of many youngsters. This means a second offense will be harsher, regardless of the first punishment. Through the Obama administration, investigations on schools’ discipline policies were launched, and schools advised to create different policies. Therefore, expulsion and suspension was to become a last resort punishment. Today, many schools have put in place restorative plans such as substance abuse prevention programs. Such policies are improving the relationship among teachers, students, and administrators. Therefore, students that cause trouble in school can get guidance from teachers rather than being arrested by the school resource officers (SRO).