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Classroom Life Skills and Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline Even though a report published in 2010 indicated a drop in youthful crime rates, the discipline policies in schools are taking an off-beam direction. In 2000, the Department of Education for Civil Rights realized that more students are being expelled or suspended from school. The out-of-school suspensions affect black students more than the white students, and many of the expelled students either drop out school or perform poorly after getting back to school. The youth advocates have raised concerns based on those reports, which attracted attention of prominent politicians including the Obama administration at the time. The high number of students who were being expelled out of school forced a need to change the school discipline policies. The youth advocates linked the current school discipline policies to the phrase “school to prison pipeline” because the policies were similar to juvenile detention. Students that caused trouble in learning institutions were channeled to face a criminal justice system. Some of the criminal cases include substance abuse, fight, and personal injuries in school. The schools’ administrations are at the forefront to push students who cause trouble into the criminal justice system. Arresting of students in school occurred many times where they were put into detention centers.
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However, keeping students out of school was not a common thing in the 1970s. After disruptions increased in schools, adoption of expulsion and suspension was taken as an alternative punishment. For instance, bringing a weapon in school was a one year punishable crime. The enactment of zero-tolerance policies contributed to increased cases of students being suspended and expelled out of school.
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However, administrators misinterpreted the weapon policy. Having a weapon like object led to many students being expelled out of school. Other schools developed other discipline policies that created tension among students. Simple mistakes such as missing a class or being disruptive are offenses that deserve expulsion or suspension. Over time, state police officers were stationed in different schools to maintain order. The police officers were not to offer the professional policing services, but to protect students from mass shooting like the one that occurred at Columbine High School. This has caused misuse of police mandates. Almost hundred thousand students were arrested and detained. Due to arrests and prosecutions, many students got criminal juvenile records. This means a second offense will be harsher, regardless of the first punishment. The Obama administration opened investigations into the civil rights implicated by the school discipline policies and urged schools to come up with different discipline policies. This was to make expulsion and suspension as a last resort. Today, drug abuse prevention programs have been developed in many schools. The aim of the new programs is to create a stronger bond between students, teachers, and school administrators. This allows students to have a chance to speak out their sources of disruptive behaviors, and then get guidance and counseling for the same.