Monday, June 16, 2008

Jailing Our Children

Sunday's Courant features a great opinion piece called Criminalizing Kids by Abby Anderson. While many states are reconsidering treating kids like adults, others allow tasering of even elementary school students. Connecticut having jailed its black minority population is now mining the next judicially impotent population - children.

NCLB coupled with the advent of a laissez-faire, zero tolerance for inalienable rights police state is parading children through the court system with a gusto Anne Frank fans will immediately recognize.

From the article:
Schools have strong incentives to jettison "problem children" and few incentives to help them. Their low test scores decrease federal funding. Their behavior means that teachers have to spend more time helping children develop socially and less time drilling for standardized tests.

Children can be removed from classrooms through arrest, suspension or expulsion. More than 3 million children are suspended or expelled from U.S. public schools every year. During the 2006-2007 school year,Connecticut children missed 152,850 school days — 418 years — because of suspensions and expulsions. Kids who aren't in school can't keep up academically. Suspension and expulsion are, therefore, predictors of school failure and of eventual incarceration. Most suspensions and expulsions are not for violent behavior, but for school policy violations such as truancy. (Yes, the punishment for truancy is being made to stay home.)

Children of color, boys and students in urban districts are at greater risk of suspension, expulsion, arrest or dropping out. In the nation's largest urban school districts, fewer than half of students graduate. A report by Johns Hopkins University labeled 9 percent of the schools in Connecticut "dropout factories" because they had a yearly promotion rate of 60 percent or worse between 2004 and 2006. That spells devastation for those communities.

High school graduates make far more money than peers who don't complete 12th grade. Higher educational attainment is associated with better health by a number of measures. And graduation means a sharply decreased likelihood of ever ending up in prison, where more than two-thirds of inmates lack a high school diploma.
Contrast the zeal for prosecuting children with the apathy that Dennis Kucinich's impeachment resolution has received and it is obvious that America cares little or nothing for justice but secretly enjoys inflicting pain compliance techniques to anyone of any age who might not click their heels to the plutocracy.

I have no doubt the no tolerance pleasure principle will not go quietly back into the neo-con madhouse that spawned it.

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