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School to Prison Pipeline Solutions Even though a report published in 2010 indicated a drop in youthful crime rates, the discipline policies in schools are taking an off-beam direction. The Department of Education for Civil Rights reported an increase in expulsion and suspensions of students in schools. According to the department’s report, black students were most affected by the discipline policies compared to white students. The youth advocates have raised concerns based on those reports, which attracted attention of prominent politicians including the Obama administration at the time. It was found that many schools are expelling or suspending students too often, and therefore the need to formulate alternative 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 cases, students are arrested while at school and taken to detention centers.
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The issue of keeping students out of school as a disciplinary action was not common in the 1970s. After disruptions increased in schools, adoption of expulsion and suspension was taken as an alternative 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. Having a weapon like object led to many students being expelled out of school. 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. However, those school resource officers turned to be security personnel against mass shooting incidents such as the one that happened in Columbine school in 1998. This has caused misuse of police mandates. Many students have been arrested and taken to detention chambers. Many arrests of students and prosecutions led to blackmailing of many youngsters. This meant a second punishment would be harsher for the same student. Through the Obama administration, investigations on schools’ discipline policies were launched, and schools advised to create different policies. This was to make expulsion and suspension as a last resort. Today, drug abuse prevention programs have been developed in many schools. Such policies are improving the relationship among teachers, students, and administrators. So, students can obtain guidance and counseling rather than facing a criminal justice system.