Social Media: The New School-to-Prison Pipeline for Black Youth

Posted by Sed Lewis, Georgia State Director, Community Solutions, Inc.

The school-to-prison pipeline is gaining fuel based on inappropriate behavior on social media

The pipeline is the trend of funneling students from public schools into the criminal justice system. African-American youth have been the most impacted by the pipeline.

Even worse, the U.S. Department of Education has new research that shows the pipeline starts at pre-school for black students. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, black students represent 31 percent of school-related arrests. It started with the zero tolerance policies of the 1990s that saw students being criminalized for minor school infractions such as improper dress, disruption of a public school, obstruction, etc.

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

Nine Strategies Schools Can Use to Help Their Students Succeed

Posted by Maura McInerney, Senior Attorney, Education Law Center

School professionals play a vital role in children's lives. Here are 9 strategies they can use to help their students succeed in school.

When families and schools work together, everyone wins. When both systems are open to one another, the school-to-prison pipeline can be interrupted. As this new school year begins, take on the challenge to understand each other, and to support and problem-solve together. It’s a new school year and a new opportunity for success and progress for students, schools and families.

In Part 1 of our blog, we considered what strategies families could use to help their children succeed. In Part 2 of our blog, let’s consider how we can effectively build those positive home-school links by examining what educational professionals can do to support student success.

nine strategies schools can use to help students succeed

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

Nine Strategies Families Can Use to Help Their Children Succeed

Posted by Maura McInerney, Senior Attorney, Education Law Center

School season can be stressful. Here are 9 strategies for families to help their children succeed in school.

It’s back to school season—from shopping for supplies to the sounds of early morning buses. For many young people, this can be a happy time of year, a time when they will start fresh or rejoin old classmates or re-connect with teachers. For some, the sights and sounds of crowded hallways bring a sense of excitement. But many youth—and families—do not have the same joyful anticipation. Many students and parents have lumps in their throats or experience anxiety when they think about returning to school and the concerns it brings—bullying, truancy, suspensions or exclusions, the dreaded phone call from school when a problem arises and the potential that things may escalate to involvement with child-protective services or the juvenile-justice system.

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

A Differing Perspective on School Resource Officers

Posted by Nick Angers, CSI

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.

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

What Does the Research Show about School Resource Officers?

Posted by Dr. Scott Henggeler

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.  

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Topics: school to prison pipeline

New Missouri Statute Worrisome for School-to-Prison Pipeline

Posted by Sophie Karpf

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

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

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

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

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

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