Saturday, May 7, 2011

School to Prison Pipeline

[Derby, Kansas, high school sophomore Jonathan Villarreal was walking to the bus after school when a police officer ordered him to pull his pants up above his hips. Jonathan refused, on the grounds that the school day was over. As reported in the Wichita Eagle, here’s what happened next:

[Villarreal] said one of the officers, a man who was larger than him, pulled him to the ground by the neck and told him to stop resisting arrest. Villarreal denied he was resisting.

Both officers kneed him in the back and neck while he was on the ground, he said.

Because they were physical with him, he struggled to get up, but was pushed back down, he said.

At one point as he tried to get up, Villarreal said he felt his arm break when he was pushed back down.

After Villarreal tried three times to get up, one officer fired a Taser at his chest, he said. Although he was wearing a heavy coat, he still felt an electrical shock, he said.
According to the article, the police department is investigating the incident. But, sadly, it illustrates a larger problem that continues to pop up around the country: the use of street-policing tactics against kids, and disproportionately kids of color, for behavior that, at worst, might merit ordinary school-based discipline.

Around the country, police assigned to patrol school campuses — where police may have a legitimate role in responding to serious criminal conduct or imminent danger — often direct their efforts where law enforcement is clearly misplaced. This is part of a disturbing national trend called the School-to-Prison Pipeline, wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Jonathan’s story is a perfect example of this larger problem. A school’s right to regulate dress code is one thing; but whatever role such regulations play in a school’s educational mission, they fall miles short of justifying a police officer’s use of brutal force against a kid.]

Found at Norwegianity.

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