EXTRA: Obama Administration Actions to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

This is yet another one of those "it's-about-time! pieces.  How many of you are tired of seeing insipid spectacles where cops are going into classrooms and handcuffing little 5 and 6 year old kids for being kids; or the one where the cop bursts into a classroom, knocking over desks while dragging and beating a young adolescent girl because she got "mouthy" with a teacher and refused to comply with some request???

I'm the parent who, if it had been my kid, would probably have wound up behind bars, because I frankly don't see the need for this kind of overbearing over-reaction to our children.  They go through their maturation process like everyone else.  They didn't have guns or knives - and bad attitudes do not constitute the need for arrest; neither does kissing another little girl on the cheek between TWO FIVE YEAR OLDS  constitute sexual harassment and handcuffs.

Since  the time of the removal of prayer from the schools, through the removal of the responsibility to discipline children by their teachers and principals, the decorum in the schools have taken a steady decline.  It was a system that should not have been messed with - to begin with.  The ensuing years brought less and less authority on the part of the teachers, until someone determined that bringing security guards into the school was a "good" thing to do.  This eventually gave way to law enforcement, which has subsequently given way to abuse of power.

Additionally, with an increasingly cynical world view - especially after 911 and the advent of the second Bush Administration, people are more immune to violence and more jaundiced and acerbic than ever before - so that innocence is looked upon with suspicion and derision.  Our children have become the victims of our own negative world view - so much so, that we had - for quite some time - abrogated our responsibilities in raising and disciplining them.  We actually have young men - and some women - who view going to jail as some sort of test of manhood - or rite of passage. 

Modeling of positive role models by teachers in the classroom - or the showing of any sort of affection or support for a child has become suspect.  Just touching a child now is viewed as either sexual harassment, pedophilia, or assault.  

In the midst of all this, our educational system has taken a nose dive- with American kids being well below the rankings of other youth of comparative ages - and teachers being borderline in terms of their knowledge of subject matter and teaching skills.  We've eviscerated Vocational Education, and must now import skills from other countries; and come up with experimental programs that have set our youth even further back.  And if it's that bad for white children, it's 50 times worse for Black children - who are already marginalized, attending substandard schools; with more security guards than teachers; and with little to no resources to work with.  

I find it interesting that this statement is coming from both the Education and Justice Departments, don't you?  Nevertheless, here it is - trying to correct some of the policies that have made our kids into criminals for minor infractions of some very human rules governed in some very inhumane manners. 

I applaud President Obama for this.  It's an absolute necessity that these forces be reigned in.  But I do wonder if this will be sufficient?  And of course, for those children who have already been traumatized by these encounters - hopefully there will be PTSD counselors to help them return to normalcy.  

The rest, who have suffered under the ongoing mis-education of substandard school systems, need help and remediation in order to be able to take their rightful place in the world. Is there a rehabilitative program for those who have already been put through the prison pipeline for  minor, ignominious infractions that spun out of  control?  Changing the law is one thing, helping them get their lives back will be quite another.

African American parents should be the first in line to make sure that their children are being treated appropriately, going forward. They should also be the first to make sure that their children are going to school to learn and participate at their best level. With the advent of the new community schools in Philadelphia, some of the parents (who were victims of the egregious pipeline) should also be able to return to school and get education and skills they were deprived of.

With the hype about the STEM program, while the rest of the world is doing STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math - the educational system is still behind - with a lot of catching up to do.  I am frankly and advocate of the STREAM Program - Science, Technology, Race (Pride) Engineering, Art and Math - because that is what is needed for Black Children the world over to not only be competitive, but to surpass those who have for so long held them back in one way or another.  

With the eradication of the prison pipeline, our children can go to school and focus on knowledge, creativity, self empowerment, accomplishments, and achievements. 

Again, Kudos to  our President.  

Stay Blessed


The press release and relevant articles in reference to this is below.:

Obama Administration Releases Resources for Schools, Colleges to Ensure Appropriate Use of School Resource Officers and Campus Police

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released today new tools to improve school climates, ensure safety, and support student achievement in our nation's schools.
To the extent a local decision is made to use school resource officers (SROs) in community schools, these resources will help state and local education and law enforcement agencies responsibly incorporate SROs in the learning environment. Additionally, the Departments have highlighted tools available for law enforcement agencies that also apply to campus law enforcement agencies.
"As educators, we are all bound by a sacred trust to protect the well-being, safety, and extraordinary potential of the children, youth and the young adults within the communities we serve," U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said. "School resource officers can be valuable assets in creating a positive school environment and keeping kids safe. But we must ensure that school discipline is being handled by trained educators, not by law enforcement officers. At the college level, the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing has important recommendations that can help campus and local law enforcement both keep students safe and safeguard students' civil rights."
"With the release of these vital resources, the Obama Administration is furthering its commitment to ensuring that schools and SROs follow best practices, ensuring a positive and supportive classroom environment," said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. " By fostering relationships of trust and respect between students and school resource officers, we can continue to build safer schools where our young people can learn and thrive—a vital effort that the Department of Justice will continue to advance with our partners at the federal, state, and local levels in the months to come." 
To assist states, schools, and their law enforcement partners in assessing the proper role of SROs and campus law enforcement professionals, both the Education Department and the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services released letters to states and districts emphasizing the importance of well-designed SRO programs and calling on leaders of institutions of higher education to commit to implementing recommendations from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing in the campus policing context.
To assist in the K-12 context, the Departments also jointly released the Safe, School-based Enforcement through Collaboration, Understanding, and Respect (SECURe) Rubrics. These new resources can help education and law enforcement agencies that use SROs to review and, if necessary, revise SRO-related policies in alignment with common-sense action steps that can lead to improved school safety and better outcomes for students while safeguarding their civil rights.
The release of these materials builds on the Obama Administration's work with states and districts to improve discipline practices and climate in the nation's schools. The Departments have worked collaboratively to recognize states and districts leading the way on these issues as well as to provide states and districts with effective alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices and continue to call upon a broad array of stakeholders to rethink approaches to school discipline in order to keep kids in school and out of the justice system. Highlights from the Administration's supportive school discipline efforts include:
  • Joint Federal Policy and Legal Guidance: Education and Justice jointly released a School Climate and Discipline Guidance Package in 2014 to provide schools with a roadmap to reduce the usage of exclusionary discipline practices and clarify schools' civil rights obligation to not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin in the administration of school discipline.
  • #Rethink Discipline Convening and Public Awareness Campaign: Education and Justice launched Rethink Discipline at the White House in July of 2015, convening school district teams, including some law enforcement practitioners and justice officials from across the country and sparking a national dialogue around punitive school discipline policies and practices that exclude students from classroom instruction and targeted supports.
  • Rethink School Discipline: Resource Guide for Superintendent Action: As a part of Rethink Discipline, the Department of Education developed a resource guide with a set of potential action items to help school leaders implement safe, supportive school climate and discipline by engaging stakeholders, assessing the results and history of existing school climate and discipline systems and practices; implementing reform; and monitoring progress.
  • Support for State and Local Educational Leaders and Partners from Other Systems: In 2015, the Department of Justice launched the National Resource Center for School Justice Partnerships to advance school discipline reform efforts and serve as a dynamic resource hub for schools, law enforcement agencies, and others to support school discipline reform efforts at the local level.
  • Fostering Safe and Supportive Learning Environments: In 2016, the Department of Education released the ED School Climate Surveys and the Quick Guide on Making School Climate Improvements to help foster and sustain safe and more nurturing environments that are conducive to learning for all students.
  • Addressing Implicit Bias and Discipline Disparities in Early Childhood Settings: In 2016, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services recently announced a new investment of $1 million in the Pyramid Equity Projectto establish national models for addressing issues of implicit bias, and uneven implementation of discipline, including expulsions and suspensions, in early learning programs.
  • Providing Guidance to Schools on Ensuring Equity and Providing Behavioral Supports to Students with Disabilities: In 2016, the Department of Education announced the release of a significant guidance document in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter, which emphasized the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. It also clarified that the repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that many children with disabilities may not be receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports. Also included was a Summary for Stakeholders.
The new resources and letters released today build on the work of the My Brother's Keeper Initiative and the Council on Women and Girls, and respond to recommendations put forth by the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing to support schools in developing more positive school climates and strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. These efforts help districts, schools, and communities build credible and sustainable systems, structures, and partnerships that provide safe, supportive learning environments that uplift students and nurture them when they do well and when they need support to do better.
For more information about the Administration's work on school climate and discipline go to www.ed.gov/rethinkdiscipline.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        Contact: Democratic Press Office
September 8, 2016                                                        202-226-0853
 Scott Statement on Obama Administration
 Actions to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline

WASHINGTON – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) released the following statement 
after the Departments of Education and Justice issued 

“I applaud the actions taken by the Departments of Education and Justice. Evidence and 
research shows that instead of protecting children, school resource officers are often policing children and creating a direct link in the school-to-prison pipeline. Discipline issues that traditionally were handled by schools and colleges are now referred to law enforcement, increasing the chances that a student gets involved in the juvenile – and eventually the criminal – justice system. This jeopardizes their chances to graduate high school and succeed in college or career.

“We must insure that institutions of learning are designed to educate and nurture our students – not put them on the wrong path. 
The Commonwealth of Virginia and other states have realized this by reforming their laws around SROs based on evidence and research, and I am pleased that the federal government is providing guidance to spur additional state and local actions. 
This announcement from the Obama administration is a meaningful first step toward rethinking discipline and eroding the school-to-prison pipeline. As Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, I stand firm in my commitment 
to dismantle the pipeline so that all students have an opportunity in success in college or career.”



Stay Blessed  &



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