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Shortsighted policies, funding cuts fuel school-to-prison pipeline

Public News Service has a good story on its website this morning that highlights a newly released report from the folks at Action for Children NC entitled “From Push Out to Lock Up: North Carolina’s Accelerated School-to-Prison Pipeline”:

“Discipline practices at some public school systems in North Carolina are preparing students for prison instead of a profession, according to a report released Wednesday by Action for Children North Carolina.

The problem stems from a trend for school systems to involve the juvenile justice system, even for the most mundane discipline problems, instead of dealing with the problem internally, according to Deborah Bryan, the organization’s president and CEO.

‘School districts are strapped,’ she says. ‘They’re short-staffed already, so it is a challenge already for them to deal with some of these discipline behaviors.’

Bryan says once students are in the juvenile justice system, they are four times more likely to drop out of high school, compared with their peers and eight times more likely to end up in jail or prison.

Bryan points out there also appears to be racial disparity when it comes to student punishment.

During the 2011-12 school year, North Carolina public schools issued 258,000 suspensions and three-fifths of them went to black students, who make up just a quarter of the state’s population.

Bryan says the data indicates a systemic problem….”

Read the entire story by clicking here and the report itself by clicking here.

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