School to Prison Pipeline: what one Florida school district is doing about it
The nation’s 7th largest school district has reached an agreement with law enforcement agencies and the NAACP to lower the number of students being charged with crimes.
Broward County Public Schools in Florida, has implemented an agreement as an alternative to the zero-tolerance policies that exist in many schools.
It charges principals rather than school resource officers with being the primary decision makers in responding to student misbehavior. The move is designed to cut down on what has become known as the “school-to-prison pipeline,” where students accused of offenses like disrupting class or loitering are suspended, arrested and charged with crimes. Broward…had the highest number of school-related arrests in Florida in the 2011-2012 school year, according to state data. Seventy-one percent of the 1,062 arrests made were for misdemeanor offenses.
In the district, as well as others in the nation, minority students have been arrested and charged at alarming rates for offenses their white peers received only warnings for. According to U.S. Department of Education data, more than 70% of students who are arrested on school property of black or Hispanic.
Under the new policy, district officials and school resource officers will have a protocol to follow when a student misbehaves. For non-violent offenses such as trespassing, harassment, alcohol etc., officials will try to resolve the situation without an arrest. Students would not be arrested for a first non-violent misdemeanor, but subsequent offenses would result in increased levels of school-based interventions. Law enforcement would get involved only after a fifth incident has taken place.
The NAACP hopes the policy will be implemented nationwide.
Thoughts on the changes?
Do you think the new system will help curb the student to prison pipeline?
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