A Differing Perspective on School Resource Officers

Posted by Nick Angers, CSI

Feb 9, 2017 8:45:00 AM

An MST expert responds to the blog on SROs published Tuesday Feb., 7

My experiences with school resource officers (SROs) differ from the viral videos that make the media rounds. The SROs that I was fortunate to build relationships with as a Multisystemic Therapy (MST) therapist and supervisor produced a picture different from the image of officers arresting kids in school hallways or physically restraining them in their classrooms. Granted, it took some effort to establish rapport with the SROs.

school resource officer and multisystemic therapy.jpg

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

What Does the Research Show about School Resource Officers?

Posted by Dr. Scott Henggeler

Feb 7, 2017 1:29:06 PM

This commentary originally appeared as an op-ed in the Mount Desert Islander. 

Historically, research has repeatedly shown that juvenile justice interventions often result in outcomes that are the opposite of what was expected or intended. For example, most people would agree that youth who commit crimes need more structure and self-discipline in their lives. This perspective led to the proliferation of military style boot camps in the 1990s designed to reduce delinquent behavior. While this intervention would seem, at face value, to be harmless and well suited for teaching teens to be more responsible, subsequent evaluations showed strikingly different results. That is, boot camp interventions actually increased youth antisocial behavior problems and did so at considerable financial cost.  

research on school resource officers.jpg

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

New Missouri Statute Worrisome for School-to-Prison Pipeline

Posted by Sophie Karpf

Jan 5, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Schoolyard fracases now felonies in Missouri

It’s about to get way worse in the Show Me State.

The first day of the New Year, the day that traditionally marks a bright new beginning, marked a dark new chapter in Missouri's history.

Imagine a school-yard scuffle, maybe a punch or two thrown, some rolling on the ground. 

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

Confessions of a 'Juvenile Delinquent', Part II

Posted by Anonymous Young Adult

Jun 23, 2016 10:57:54 AM

A young, upper-middle class, white male commits several crimes and wonders what would have happened had he been a young, poor, male of color

We’ve been reporting a lot on the disparities in the juvenile-justice system. We talk about the consequences of the school-to-prison pipeline, where brown and black kids are treated so much harsher than their white counterparts. It’s not often we get a glimpse into the system from the point of view of a white, advantaged male. Most often, it’s the disenfranchised who speak out about their stories. However, this anonymous young man has chosen to share his brush with the justice system and why he’ll be the first to believe that it was the color of his skin, not his innocence or guilt, that provided him with a “get-out-of-jail-free” card.


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Topics: school to prison pipeline

Confessions of a 'Juvenile Delinquent'

Posted by Sophie Karpf

May 26, 2016 11:00:00 AM

How being white and privileged kept me out of the juvenile justice system

I’m new to a lot of things. Knitting, crossword puzzles, adult-ing, just to name a few. But most importantly, I’m new to my job at MST Services. Before working here, I could not have told you much about the juvenile-justice system. Now, by virtue of the research I now do, I can tell you a lot. Interestingly, not only have I learned a lot about the topic, I have learned a lot about myself. 

This is not going to be me gushing about how my life has improved since coming to MST. (Even though it has). This is going to be me speaking about the harsh realizations and self-awareness I’ve come to have, most of which I think are equal parts pertinent and relevant to my peers, as well.dodgeball.jpg

My friends and me, senior year of high school

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

The Two Paths for Youth: College or Prison

Posted by Sarah Johansson, MST-SA Supervisor

May 24, 2016 11:11:13 AM

One MST supervisor’s call for treating our youth with empathy

When I tell new people what I do, I inevitably get “the face.” You know which one I’m talking about, the one that comes right before someone is going to disclose their disapproval of something. The face is most commonly followed by some version of “Well, they did a bad thing, and they need to be punished for their actions, right?”


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Topics: school to prison pipeline

How to Shut Down The School-to-Prison Pipeline

Posted by Ronn Jakubovic

Mar 15, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Reflecting on his role in the school-to-prison pipeline, an educator offers advice for the classroom

Hulu is currently airing an adaptation of Stephen King’s 11.22.63. In the story, an ordinary man travels to the past to stop the assassination of JFK. As he was a teacher in the present, he uses that skill to get a job and blend into a bygone society. During his interview, the principal grills him on whether he can handle disciplining his class or if he will constantly send students to the office. 

That particular scene made me reflect on the school-to-prison pipeline blog and my own role in the system. I previously worked as an educator in a high school on the Mexican border during the height of cartel violence, a juvenile-development center for teens convicted of serious crimes and a public middle school with the reputation as “the worst in the area both academically and behaviorally.” These environments were and continue to be vulnerable cogs in the pipeline. While serving at-risk youth, did I handle my own discipline effectively? How many students did I send to the office either immediately or via disciplinary paperwork? Would that principal in the 1960s hire me?


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Topics: school to prison pipeline

What Are We Going to Do About the School-to-Prison Pipeline?

Posted by Sophie Karpf

Mar 10, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Zero tolerance policies are pushing our kids into prison

An African American male born in 1940 had an 8-percent chance of ending up incarcerated if he did not attend college. In 1970, that figure rose to 36 percent. Want to know the chance of an African American male born in 1970 ending up incarcerated if he didn’t graduate high school? Seventy percent. That’s 7 out of 10 black youth.

So, how many African American males are not graduating high school? As of 2013, the graduation rate was 59 percent. (Compare that to 65 percent for Latino males and 80 percent for white males). This begs the question—why are so many of these young men not graduating high school? Well, partially because they’re disproportionately pushed into prison due to overwhelmingly Draconian discipline policies, a phenomenon known as the school-to-prison pipeline.Schooltoprisonpipeline.jpg

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

Kentucky Police Officer Handcuffs 8-Year-Old, Stirs Outrage

Posted by Sue Dee

Aug 6, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Police in our schools—There is a better way

Watching the news this week, I came across an unsettling story.  

An 8-year-old, third-grade student diagnosed with ADHD and PTSD was handcuffed above the elbow by a sheriff’s deputy for not following directions at school. It is a disturbing image, yet one that may become increasingly more common. Police_handcuff_8yo

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Topics: Zero Tolerance, Kentucky, school to prison pipeline

Should Police Be In Schools? Get A Parent’s Perspective

Posted by Sue Dee

Jul 1, 2015 10:00:00 AM

A Parent's Opinion of Police Presence in Schools 

My oldest child just turned 12. There are so many new experiences coming our way, rites of passage as she stands on the threshold of adolescence. She is bright, creative (read: dramatic) and loves school. We are lucky that her friends are polite, sweet, “good kids” with like-minded parents.

The age of 12 represents a lot for me as a parent. Not only are the teen years less than a year away, but my daughter has started middle school—a setting where I can only worry more and protect her less from the trials of growing up. Elementary school was a little bubble, a protective cocoon where all the kids felt like part of our big family. As parents, we had the goal of protecting them all.

Middle school is different. My daughter told me that sometimes there are police in the school cafeteria to stop occasional fights. This revelation made me catch my breath. Gone is the protective bubble of those elementary-school years. I was horrified and completely torn.police_in_school

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

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