VIRGINIA TOPS ALL states in referring students from school to law enforcement — a dubious distinction that should be cause for concern. Right now there’s a growing recognition that our state’s approach to juvenile justice has to change.
Archives for November 2015
After two decades of researching mass incarceration — and advocating for its demise — I decided in 2005 to take more direct action and accepted a job running corrections departments, first in Washington, D.C., then in New York City. It was a rude awakening.
When video surfaced of a South Carolina school security officer yanking a high-school student from her desk because she had allegedly disobeyed orders to put her cellphone away, observers howled. Although the white officer, Ben Fields, was fired, many blamed the girl — an African American teenager — for not complying with her teacher. The incident was one of thousands that have played out across the country in which reported misconduct by Black girls at school prompted a seemingly disproportionate — and often violent — response by school and local authorities.