Criminalizing our Youth: An Educational Perspective

http://m.yahoo.com/w/ygo-frontpage/lp/story/us/2259837/coke.bp%3B_ylt=A2KL8xO74Z9PPGYAix0p89w4%3B_ylu=X3oDMTFzMTQ3NWs4BGNwb3MDNARjc2VjA21vYmlsZS10ZARpbnRsA3VzBHBrZwNpZC0yMjU5ODM3BHBvcwMxBHNsawN0aHVtYg–?ref_w=frontdoors&view=today&.tsrc=yahoo&.intl=us&.lang=en

This information is rather sad, but not surprising at all. Our states build public elementary schools and prisons using the same statistics, so it is no wonder that law enforcement has been so heavily utilized in “behavior modification” and/or “student discipline”. In my opinion, we have failed at this technique just like the penal system has failed at true “rehabilitation” of inmates. Our public schools are out of control and it is starting at the lowest levels. 6 year old students being apprehended at schools for behavior that can not be controlled or mitigated by administration is absolutely ridiculous. There is a part of me that a few years ago would have said “call the police on those bad kids and show them how it works in the real world” but now I wonder, what kind of example does this really set? What kinds of lessons are truly taught using this approach? Parents, teachers, principles, the community must all work together to resolve these issues. Our young boys especially, are just being primed for going to prison later in life. Our juvenile justice system is at an all time high with young people, just look at the stats from this article. We must look back and pinpoint exactly where it is that we went wrong, and start creating and implementing solutions now. It has to be a joint effort; parents must be involved in the disciplining of their children just as much as the school officials who have their kids/students for 40 hours a week. One cannot leave it up to the other. I can remember having security guards at school and the occasional police when there was a serious fight or disturbance, but not to the extent with which students are seeing the presence of law enforcement and being introduced to its practices now. In some way, we still have a responsibility to protect them while teaching them the differences between right and wrong, good, and unacceptable. This is just another issue that is severely plaguing the public school system where “our” children end up in overrepresented numbers as compared to private schools, and because of this a solution must come. One of my college professor’s once told me, that one of the most dangerous things that ever happened to minority students at public schools was the introduction of a culture and practice of disrespect for administration fueled by questioning authority that eventually spilled over into home-life where parents are once again younger than they were 20 years ago, but have different values and allow their children to be disrespectful as well……So the question is, where do we go from here?

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