• Uncategorized

The School-to-Prison Approach

The school-to-prison approach was initiated after some inappropriatebehaviors in the school setting were on the rise. Hence, the schoolmanagement together with the government had to establish a plan thatwill create a supportive environment. In the process, the governmentimplemented a number of provisions that had strict techniques ofdealing with the immoral behaviors in the schools. For instance, thestudents had started carrying guns in school while some were moreviolent and they used drugs that the school had prohibited. Thecircumstances called for the immediate response and the policies suchas zero tolerance policies and the Student Safety Act are some of theones that were introduced to control the high rate of indisciplinecases in the school community. In particular, these specificprovisions are the ones that facilitated the implementation of theschool-to-prison policy that will control the behaviors of the youngadults. In fact, the schools have ignored the practice of dealingwith the indiscipline students, and they have transferred theresponsibility to the criminal justice system. Some schools even havemultiple police officers that will detain any student that engage ininappropriate activities. Most of the students that disregard theschool rules are discouraged through expulsion and suspensions. Inthe process, the officers even arrest the students based on minorincidents that they have committed. They are then transferred tojuvenile detention centers and other corrective institutions. Theplaces tend to demoralize the students, and they will be unwilling togo back to their former schools since the administration looked attheir cases unfairly. In most cases, the students just need help thatwill identify their problems but, the strict punishment increasesthe intensity of their challenges. They might have to deal with theoutside world when they do not have a certificate or any otheracademic credential needed. This essay will prove that the positivebehavior intervention is more appropriate than the school-to-prisonapproach that had been introduced to reduce the indiscipline rate inthe schools.

The policy has affected the minorities more since the teachersevaluate them based on the common stereotypes in the society. Forinstance, the society tends to believe that the Latino and the Blackstudents tend to be more violent than their Caucasian counterparts.In most cases, the students will engage in unproductive and immoralactivities that will lead to their suspension or expulsion from theschool. It is reported that about 40% of the population expelled area group of minorities and they reveal how serious the problem is(Gonzalez, 2012). In particular, the teachers have deviated to gaugethe students based on their surroundings. Teachers are supposed tounderstand that the students live in violent neighborhoods that havefailed to instill the proper morals in their minds. Hence, theyshould strive in teaching them how to change their behaviors and makesure that they adopt the appropriate ethical guidelines as well. Themovie Dangerous Minds shows how the students from the minoritycommunities often behave. In this case, the first day in class,Louanne Johnson is greeted by young people that even speak in aderogatory manner. However, Louanne is not too quick to judge thestudents, but, she focuses on understanding them and determiningeffective ways in which she can help them overcome the variouschallenges that they are facing. For instance, she identifies thatthey are from low-income families, and they have been unable tocomprehend the essence of education in their lives. At the same time,most of them do not believe in their abilities since they live in asurrounding that does not motivate them to exploit their interests.Instead, most teachers have failed to adopt the approach that Louanneused in interacting with the students. Most of the schools will expeland suspend any student that reveals a sign of violence, and theywill not take their time to identify the circumstances that have ledto such problems.

The Student Safety Act has led to the school-to-prison being morecommon in the community. In this case, the policy moved the securityissues from the teachers to the police officers that are supposed todeal with the students directly. In particular, the police officershave been trained to deal with the criminals, but, not the students.Hence, the approach that they will use in handling the students isnot the same as what they are used to. For instance, their first moveis always arresting a person regardless of the crime. In reality, theteachers are trained to handle discipline cases using somenon-violent cases (Cregor &amp Hewitt, 2011). However, the policeofficers are supposed to restore peace and safety in the publicsetting, and the school is not a perfect place where they canoperate. The Student Safety Act was initiated after the violent andshooting cases in the schools around the US. As a result, the policeforce was the best institution in handling the indiscipline that hitthe education system. The government needs to understand the twounique roles that the different professionals play and devise ways tohelp the students. For instance, the Act has even increased thenumber of officers from 3200 to 5200, and that shows how serious thepolicy is (Cregor &amp Hewitt, 2011). More important, the teachersshould find a way to handle the truancy and the delinquency casesusing an academic perspective that helps them while they are still inthe school setting. Placing them in the prisons does not offerproductive solutions since the situation even harden them. In fact,some of them might turn out to be more indiscipline before theyentered the prison. In some cases, the students might undergo stressand contract infections because of the poor living conditions in theprison system and other corrective institutions.

The students with learning disabilities have been the common victimof the policy since it believes that they are more indiscipline.However, the school management has often used the school-to-prisonsystem to force students with low scores out of the systems. Mostchildren that perform poorly academically are more likely to facesome longer suspension while the high-scoring students will faceshorter terms (Cole &amp Heilig, 2011). In fact, the schools mightfind a way to warn the student and pretend that the act was lessdangerous. The students that have learning disabilities have a higherrate of suspension rate than the other ones. In most cases, theschools look at them like they are just burdens to the system. Someof the schools believe that the low-performing students are the onesthat will cause problems in the schools, and they will initiateapproaches to remove them from the systems (Cole &amp Heilig, 2011).In reality, the learning disabilities do not mean that such studentsare the ones associated with problems often. In some scenarios, thestudents also face a backlash from the teachers and the students thatmight believe that they are poor in most subjects and the school isnot their place to succeed. The scripted curriculum has alsoprevented the teachers from focusing on particular students andenhances their abilities to succeed (Elias, 2013). It is more likelythat the teachers will ignore the wellbeing of one student and focuson other ones that do not have learning disabilities. In this case,the school management depicts how they lack a proper system andcompassion since they have ignored the students and they are chasingthem away instead. Hence, the school will be supposed to change theirlearning perspective and focus on the way that they will help thestudents to achieve the lesson outcomes.

The school-to-prison policy has affected the students that arevictims of neglect, poverty and violence hence, the counselingassistance might be helpful in showing them the appropriate directionthat they should follow. However, using the approach has not been abetter option since it has led to the students being hardcorecriminals. In fact, a large portion of the unemployed people is madeup of people that do not have the required education credentials andthey had dropped out from High School (Curtis, 2013). Some of themwere even victims of the policy that has undermined the chances ofthe students succeeding in the long-run. Instead, the schools shouldfind a proper way to deal with the students that are portraying signsof violence and drug abuse too. More important, the movie DangerousMinds reveals how the situation in most schools is. Louanne’sinteraction with the students shows that they have a clear problemthat the stakeholders should handle carefully. In the movie, theschool administration had initiated specific rigid approaches thatwill handle indiscipline and teach the students. Unfortunately,Louanne was even unable to introduce new teaching techniques sincethe management expected the teachers to handle issues in a particulartraditional way. Louanne ignores their concerns and the rigorousbureaucracy to introduce a personal approach in dealing with thestudents. In the process, she persuades the students to have aninterest in education, and they attend her lessons attentively. Inparticular, the schools need to introduce appropriate ways of lookingat the children since they might have problems that are not relatedto the teaching techniques.

The positive behavior intervention and other supportive initiativesare more important in controlling the behavior of the students ratherthan the school-to-prison approach that is ineffective. Moreimportant, the teachers often strive to understand the needs of thestudents and focus on helping them overcome various challenges thatthey might be facing at that particular time. For instance, the zerotolerance policies have been unable to find a solution to theviolence experienced in the schools (Curtis, 2013). Instead, theyexpel and suspend the students yet, they have been unable todetermine the proper way to help them reduce the challenges that thestudents face. In the movie Dangerous Minds, Louanne strivesto create rapport with the students, and she begins with the karatelessons. In the process, she shows the students her other side apartfrom a teacher, and that helps them look at her as one of them. Infact, she gives every student an A, and she illustrates how everyoneshould strive to keep that grade. The efficient approach helps thestudents have the feeling of being an A-student, and the experiencenurtures a sense of success and superiority in the academic field.She uses her techniques to build trust and facilitate honestcommunication between her and the students. In the end, the studentsrespect her as their teacher since she encourages them to use theirabilities appropriately. The approach is quite effective in teachingthe student while it has violated various guidelines that thestandardized curriculum wants. The movie shows that theschool-to-prison approach will fail the school system, and thestakeholders need to adopt other proper ways to handle theindiscipline cases. Louanne’s interaction with the students insiststhat the positive behavior intervention helps them understand theirrole in the school, and how they should have respect for theadministration and the rules too.

In conclusion, the school-to-prison approach is inefficient, and mostteachers should use support groups or even the positive behaviorintervention that motivates the students to respect the school rulesand focus on improving their grades. In this case, the movieDangerous Minds also insists how the positive behavior interventionmight be quite efficient in reducing the indiscipline cases in aschool setting. For instance, the zero tolerance policies and theStudent Safety Act have failed to initiate the required change in theschools. The policies have not reduced the violent or even the drugabuse cases while academics have deteriorated. Besides that, takingthe students to the prisons and other rehabilitation institutions hasmade the situation much worse. Some of the students even end uphating education, and they will believe that it is a system thatundermines their position in the society. Instead, the schools needto reduce the number of police officers in the schools and make surethat the teachers are the ones that should handle the indisciplinecases. They should master a way of dealing with the negative behaviorby introducing various support groups that will initiate theirtransformation into better students.


Cole, H. A., &amp Heilig, J. V. (2011). Developing a school-basedyouth court: A potential alternative to the school to prisonpipeline. JL &amp Educ., 40, 305.

Cregor, M., &amp Hewitt, D. (2011). Dismantling the school-to-prisonpipeline: A survey from the field. Poverty &amp Race, 20(1),5-7.

Curtis, A. J. (2013). Tracing the school-to-prison pipeline fromzero-tolerance policies to juvenile justice dispositions. Geo. LJ,102, 1251.

Dangerous Minds. (1995). Retrieved on 24th Nov,2016, from: http://fmovies.to/film/dangerous-minds.8mon/1r2l3q

Elias, M. (2013).The School-to-Prison Pipeline. Teaching Tolerance, 52(43),39-40.

Gonzalez, T. (2012). Keeping kids in schools: Restorative justice,punitive discipline, and the school to prison pipeline. Journal ofLaw &amp Education, 41(2).