When a school bus driver is trying to do his job and get students to line up in an orderly fashion, and parents storm the bus, terrifying students on the bus, and begin to beat the driver--is this horrific behavior the school's fault? Look at this story from Palm Beach County Yesterday. The example set by parents here, in front of elementary school students, I mean who can calculate the damage this does and the terrible example this sets for their own kids?
We know many students of all ethnicities live in dysfunctional environments, and this condition manifests itself sometimes into behaviors like this from two students in Panama City who have been arrested and will be charged. Is the school responsible for this-or is the allowing of this behavior another example of the home to prison pipeline?
Or what about this riot from Akron Ohio. School officials there will be suspending and or expelling those students(many of whom were arrested in a massive brawl that erupted at their school). Will this be inaccurately labeled an over-reaction, or worse, an example of the "school to prison pipeline for these youth?" Or, is there another more difficult explanation that has something to do with their home-lives? You can see the twitter posts of the riot in this article.
Or what about these students arrested at school for fighting and marijuana possession--Is this the school's fault? Should the school just give these students a pass on this?
What about these six students that skipped school yesterday and broke into a house, destroying TVs and other valuables--is this the school's fault these students skipped school and did this? Really? Is this a "school to prison pipeline?" Or are these simply students making terrible decisions and paying a price for these choices?
If a student like this one called a bomb threat in to my kid's school, I'd expect them to be arrested for this-wouldn't you? Or is this just a "school to prison pipeline" school over-reacting?
What about when someone walks into a classroom and knocks another student unconscious and steals a cell-phone? Does that warrant an arrest? Or should they have proposed an after-school detention session for these youths...
It's time to stop the blame shifting and name calling directed at well meaning, well intentioned public school systems and employees who in the vast majority of instances are simply trying to do their jobs to the best of their abilities to help students. And when terrible, deplorable conduct like the Akron riots happen-employees that rightly did their jobs and police that rightly did their jobs--is it really okay to point a finger at these folks and say they "caused" this, and are a part of a "school to prison pipeline?" I think anyone who thinks like that and thinks incidents like these and many others too numerous to count are the fault of the school systems exclusively-these folks have it badly wrong.
It's a lot like a recent documentary on the mistreatment of water park Orcas I watched on CNN. I'm not comparing kids to Orcas-obviously students are humans and Orcas are animals (whales); however there are some eerie similarities that can be discerned in the way incidents are explained and who gets blamed.
The corporate big-wigs at the water parks, instead of acknowledging the issue and saying "Yes, this was an unprovoked attack by a Killer Whale on a Trainer" attempt to do everything possible to not face facts. And, in the process they apparently blame the trainer for the accident which caused her to lose her life. According to this CNN Documentary, apparently the water parks also failed to acknowledge that the one violent whale, in particular, has now killed two humans and severely injured another. Is there a pattern there?
Not the whale's fault is the answer.
When we as public school policymakers and advocates do not speak up and refute mis-truths by some entities about why many students are arrested when these same students commit crimes at school, are we not in essence like the water park execs? are we blaming the trainers(employees, teachers, staff, bus drivers)? Guess what-- other "trainers" are watching and if they are not supported, there won't be any more trainers or water parks.