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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Today’s New York Times Editorial on the “Over-Punishment in Schools”

Here is a link to some follow-up information from the media to our new You Tube posting below on the “School to Prison Pipeline.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/29/opinion/29sun2.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Entitled, “Over-Punishment in Schools,” today’s New York Times editorial talks about the concern we raised over the increasing criminalization of our students that has resulted from school policies and practices that channel students from the public schools into the juvenile justice system.

The editorial alerts its readers to the increasing awareness by social justice advocates of policies put into place in the last decade in schools across the country:

“… juvenile justice advocates across the country are rightly worried about policies under which children are sometimes arrested and criminalized for behavior that once was dealt with by principals or guidance counselors working with a student’s parents.

“Children who are singled out for arrest and suspension are at greater risk of dropping out and becoming permanently entangled with the criminal justice system. It is especially troubling that these children tend to be disproportionately black and Hispanic, and often have emotional problems or learning disabilities.”


One of the problems identified has been the overpolicing in the schools. The NY Times editorial talks about an attempt to address this issue by the New York Council that has drafted a bill called the Student Safety Act. One of the goals of the act is to bring greater accountability and transparency to the issue.

The editorial describes the goals of the act as follows:

"The draft bill would require police and education officials to file regular reports that would show how suspensions and other sanctions affect minority children, children with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. Detailed reports from the Police Department would show which students were arrested or issued summonses and why, so that lawmakers could get a sense of where overpolicing might be a problem.

"Most important, the bill would create an easily navigable system under which parents, students and teachers could file complaints against school security officers. This provision comes in response to a 2007 report by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which said students were being roughed up for minor infractions like talking back or walking the halls without a pass.


We would be interested in sharing actions taken in other states. Readers who have information on their state are encouraged to share it with our readers on this blog.

UPDATES

Here are links to a December 14, 2009 op-ed from the New York Times entitled, “Judging our Children,” and a December 16, 2009 editorial entitled, “De-Criminalizing Children.”

Both articles continue the conversation. The latter article urges Congress to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act of 1974. The act had required the states to humanize their juvenile justice policies in order to receive federal funds.

Another op-ed article from the NY Times on March 5, 2010: Cops vs. Kids

From the March 18, 2010 issue of the NY Times: School Suspensions Lead to Legal Challenge By Erik Eckholm

The latest from a NY Times editorial of September 18, 2010: One Strike and They're Out

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