The School For Prison Pipeline

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“Tomorrow 's future is in the hands of the youth of today” is not a particularly new sentiment. But what is new, what has become a pressing question, is what is to become of the future if our youth are behind bars instead of in schools? Youth today are being pushed into the criminal justice system at an alarming rate. This issue is known as the school to prison pipeline ─ the rapid rate at which children are pushed out of schools and into the criminal justice system. The school to prison pipeline is a term that came into use by activists in the late 1970’s and has gained recognition throughout the years as the issue became more prominent in the 1990’s. Some activists view policies meant to “correct” misbehaviors, especially in regards to Zero Tolerance policies and the policing of schools, as a major contributor to the pipeline. Others believe that the funding of schools and the education standards are to blame for the rapid increase of youth incarcerations. While the school to prison pipeline affects every student, African American students, both male and female, are more often the victim of discrimination in education. The school to prison pipeline must end, and the trend must be reversed. Proponents of change have noted that the school to prison pipeline has been perpetrated by harsh discipline guidelines and policies placed in schools. Russell J. Skiba, Ph.D., a Professor in Counseling and Educational Psychology at Indiana University, defined Zero Tolerance policies as

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