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School to Prison Pipeline: Harmful Policies for Children

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In the article “Militarization of School Police: One Route on the School-to-Prison Pipeline” written by Bethany J. Peak, she speaks about the law enforcement treating the communities they work in as a war zone. There are people who want to believe that enforcing police on school campuses is for safety precautions. However, all it does is create a stigma on the type of students that attend schools with the presence of militarized police officers. Most of the schools that do have their own police on campus mainly have students that are minorities. With recent events of police brutality, especially towards blacks and latinos, many communities do not trust the police.

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Also, military weapons, camouflage uniforms, assault rifles, and armored vehicles represent war in our society. This article addresses the placement of police officers in schools. Schools have recently experienced school police departments obtaining military-grade weapons. Most school districts explain that the weapons will be used training to prepare for an active-shooter situation. However, many school districts have performed active shooter drills using the weapons and conducted the drills unannounced. Not only did that terrify the students that were involved but the community felt that that their military tactics were unnecessary.

The school to prison pipeline is subtle and institutionalized, just like the racism in America. The school to prison pipeline operates by imposing harsher disciplinary actions and implementing criminal consequences for adolescent misbehavior especially toward black students. In America, there is no denying the history of over-policing and over-criminalization of minorities. Research shows that black students are punished under zero-tolerance policies far more than the other races. The only authority we had was campus police. Walking into my high school was like checking into a probation office or a juvenile detention center. When there was a fight or anything that required disciplinary action, the police were always involved. Instead of getting suspended, students were given criminal punishments.

Because of the “War on Drugs”, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the local communities feared their local law enforcement would not be properly prepared. Laws were then created to allow local police to obtain military weapons. However, recent events have caused people to question whether local law enforcement officials use their military weapons to continue the war on drugs or terror attacks. During the protests in Ferguson, local police departments now use their military weapons against the citizens they are meant to protect. 

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