The Tug of War on School-to-prison Pipeline:
Finding Constructive Solutions vs. Imposing Strict Policies
By Shirley Tang
“Is it necessary to send this child to jail at such a vulnerable age for non-violent offense?”
“What would happen to him/her in jail?”
“How are the parents holding up with their child arrested or in jail?”
These are the questions I always ask when I read or hear stories about children being arrested in schools and locked up in jails or prisons.
While I cannot even bear to think about the answers to the last two questions, the answer to the first one is crystal clear to me: Definitely not.
Children come to school to be educated, not to be sent to prisons through the School-to-prison pipeline. There are plenty of restorative or rehabilitative options to replace arrest and jail time. I am grasping tightly on this side of the rope.
Unfortunately, some lawmakers, school administrators and their supporters are holding just as tight on the other side of the rope. They argue, “These students broke the law (or school policy). They knew they would be punished when they violated the law/policy.”
To some, upholding the laws or policies is far more important than the future of the children, the agony of the parents, and the damages done to the community/society when families are broken.