After learning about a 6-year-old autistic student who was put in handcuffs for biting his aide in 2013, Phoenixville parent Blake Emmanuel took action. Before she was through, a bipartisan legislative commission had investigated harsh disciplinary practices in schools and concluded that they negatively affect all students, but that children of color and those with disabilities are disproportionately affected.
The study found that in schools with law enforcement, “discipline responsibilities tend to be shifted away from teachers, administrators, and other school staff to the [school police officers].” On average, the data shows a 12 percent increase in reporting “non-serious violent crime” in schools with police officers compared to those without.
The Notebook is one of 15 news organizations in the Philadelphia Reentry Reporting Collaborative , a solutions-oriented journalism initiative focusing on the challenges of prisoner reentry. Usually, school is the last place that high school students want to be on a Saturday. But on March 11, Quamir Palmer made an exception.
Edgar Matta-Galdames knows about the school-to-prison pipeline. Not that the student at the Workshop School in West Philadelphia is in it himself. But he was once suspended for wearing a hoodie to school in violation of the dress code.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams met Thursday with 60 Kensington High School seniors to talk about education and the law. The visit was organized by English teacher John Lavin, who works closely with the school’s social studies department to bridge the gap between social issues and literature.
One reason for the increase in graduation rates among students with juvenile justice involvement is the availability of more options to get these students back on a path to securing their diplomas. About 10 years ago, initiatives regarding re-engagement of at-risk youth became a top priority for Philadelphia – and for good reason.