Zero Tolerance Policies In Schools Essay

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Over the past decade the number of youth behavioral instances in schools and youth incarceration has increased. Do “zero tolerance policies” in schools have a direct effect on the number of youth who ends up in the prison system?
The “School-to-prison pipeline” is a metaphor used to describe the increasing patterns of contact students have with the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems as a result of the recent practices implemented by educational institutions, specifically zero tolerance policies and the use of police in schools.” (Wikipedia: “School-to-Prison Pipeline”). "Zero tolerance policies" have been adopted by many schools in the nation. Starting with elementary schools, leading to high schools and ending with alternative schools,
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“In fact, hundreds of school districts across the country employ discipline policies that push students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system at alarming rates.” (Elias 2). Minor infractions lead to punishments ascending from after school detentions and in-school suspensions to out-of-school suspensions, alternative schools and even expulsion. Many challenging students drop out of school before they ever get to see an alternative school. “In a study conducted in Texas, Fabelo showed that if a student is subjected to a single suspension or expulsion for a discretionary offense that did not include a weapon, that student’s likelihood of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system in the following academic year almost tripled”. (Smith 8). Often times, students are punished when the underlying reason for lashing out in misbehavior could have been noticed in the classroom and aided through school …show more content…
The “school-to-prison pipeline tends to zoom in on students from one or both of two groups: minorities and special needs students. While African-American students make up 18 percent of students the percentage of those suspended at least twice is 46 percent. It has been stated “that while 8.6 percent of public school children have been identified as having disabilities that affect their ability to learn, these students make up 32 percent of youth in juvenile detention centers.” (Elias 3). The chances of a black student being suspended or expelled are three times the chance of a white student receiving the same consequence. “On average, five percent of white students are suspended, compared to sixteen percent of black students” (Wikipedia: School-to-Prison Pipeline). Special needs students also suffer from harsh discipline at school, oftentimes before they are ever diagnosed as a special needs student. While special needs students can be a discipline issue in the classroom, many times the “issue” can be resolved if an educator pulled for his attention in a different manner or recognized that the student required special education services. Students who receive special education services have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) included in their educational plan. Individualized Education

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