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8 Years In Prison for a Harmless Prank? Handcuffed for Doodling? The Increasing Criminalization of Students

Young people are being suspended, expelled and charged with criminal offenses for behavior as innocuous as doodling on a desk.

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Meanwhile, the Obama administration showed great interest in reforming the culture of zero-tolerance last month, when Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the launch of the  Supportive School Discipline Initiative , a collaborative project between the Departments of Justice and Education that “will address the 'school-to-prison pipeline' and the disciplinary policies and practices that can push students out of school and into the justice system. The initiative aims to support good discipline practices to foster safe and productive learning environments in every classroom.”

While it remains to be seen whether or not the initiative will help dismantle the school-to-prison-pipeline, the ACLU  believes it’s an important first step.  

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been corrected since its original publication for more accurate attribution to original sources.

Rania Khalek is a progressive activist. Check out her blog  Missing Pieces  or follow her on Twitter  @Rania_ak. You can contact her at  raniakhalek@gmail.com.

 
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