We are facing a crisis. Across the country, students are being suspended, expelled, shuffled off to disciplinary alternative schools, and even arrested for minor misbehavior or trivial actions like being late or violatinga dress code. Instead of a trip to a counselor or a call home, students are being handcuffed and escorted from the schoolhouse to the jailhouse and courthouse. Metal detectors, armed guards, police, and barbed wire are common in our schools while libraries and counselors’ offices are left empty. Special thanks to Youth United for Change, Padres y Jovenes Unidos and Power U for their participation in this video.
Rather than having a common sense approach to discipline, too many schools are using overly harsh discipline policies and practices that are ineffective, unfair, and detrimental. Research shows that this zero tolerance approach does not work. It doesn’t make schools safer. Instead, this approach lowers educational outcomes, damages relationships within schools, and diverts funding from providing high quality educational experiences. These systems of discipline and prison-like environments are not preparing young people for success; they are conditioning them for a life of incarceration. All students deserve better; they deserve safe, quality schools.