Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Second Edition
Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II, Priya Parmar and David Stovall
← 293 | 294 → Afterword
The cruelest, most pernicious development in domestic social and legal policy in the past two decades has been the widened, faster, broader School to Prison Pipeline—a policy that targets young students of color in their schools and criminalizes normal childhood and adolescent behavior. It is the task of every student, parent, teacher, and community member to educate one another and themselves about this brave new reality, and to dismantle that pipeline immediately. This volume tells you what, why, and how. And perhaps it is useful, at the end, to remember the clear ethical reasons for tearing it down.
When thinking clearly about the future, as young people require us to do, one would think that there would be 100% agreement with the following statement: We should never punish children by depriving them of an education. Yet zero tolerance policies, which transformed schools across the nation in the mid-1990s, did precisely that. School misbehavior—talking, taunting, pushing, shouting, fighting, and graffiti—were transformed into crimes. Schools became sites of searches and surveillance, police patrols and arrests, locker inspections and drug testing. Police presence in schools does not improve public safety, nor do search machines, cameras, or student identification tags. Police presence does increase student arrests, criminal and delinquency prosecutions, and exclusion (suspension and expulsion) from schools.
The promoters of zero tolerance, an odd coalition of prosecutors and police, politicians and teachers’ unions, frightened parents and high crime communities, ← 294 | 295 → unsuspecting advocates of neighborhood...