In Texas, some students who show up late for class too many times, or just plain don’t show up, are being sent to courtrooms instead of principals’ offices, while other youngsters face heftier charges and fines for offenses that used to be handled by schools’ internal disciplinary officers and structures. Leave it to the BBC to give us this kind of in-depth report from across the Atlantic about a phenomenon happening on American soil. —KA
More than one in seven Texan children are involved with the criminal justice system, according to the BBC report, and it’s because the state’s cops and judges are ticketing, arresting and imprisoning children for crimes like writing on a desk and not showing up to class.
A state lawmaker attempted to correct the problem to no avail. The BBC says students continue to run afoul of police for offenses like “swearing or wearing banned jewellery.” One school volunteer, who dubbed the term “school to prison pipeline,” says, “Teachers used to be able to manage their students and police were there just as a backup, but now what I’m seeing is that security and police are intervening all the time.”
The tough-on-crime attitude, applied in this case to children being children, is not working. —PZS
The use of the court system to correct student behaviour is a popular policy used in schools across Texas.
Many of these tickets were for classroom disruptions and truancy but also included some minor misbehaviour problems.
Alison Brim, from the Texas Organizing Project, a group which campaigns for low and moderate income families, has come across examples of minor school disciplinary matters being referred to police officers, stationed permanently inside nearly all local high schools.
“I ran into a mother recently whose daughter wrote her name on a school desk in highlighter and she was given a felony conviction for that.
“There are police at every high school. Just to give you an idea, the school districts here in Dallas spend $20million (£12.6m) on security and surveillance each school year”.