School To Jail: A Theory Not Working
Taking a child from his or her desk and friends at school and locking them in a jail cell is a traumatic experience for any child. Even for adults the sudden change in environment is a shock and brings a serious reality check. Many believe that the shock works to deter any future negative behavior, but it could also backfire and encourage some. It is an act of chance.
Authorities suppose that this form of tough love is a solution to unruly behavior in young people but the act is just a working theory in progress, an experiment. However, they have adopted it as the rule of law in the schools without considering what affects it has had on many children. Inflated egos in people of authority mixed with a lack of knowledge on child rearing and discipline have gone unchecked for too long. Children are being treated like adults, not just technically, but mentally and emotionally.
Children still have to be treated like children. They have not developed fully mentality nor emotionally and many times cannot decipher between right and wrong. Too many people suppose that children must take responsibility for their actions despite whatever wrong they have done. While this is true in some cases of growing up, it is not true in cases where the children truly did not know the difference.
If a child is not emotionally developed, the jail experience will have a negative effect on them. In other words, the lack of understanding and justice on the part of the adults will send a child spiraling backward and they will not trust adults any longer and will see no reason to do what they believe is right. They will lash out at authority instead of receiving the message the adults are trying to send. Adults who cannot understand this simple logic are those currently in charge of our children.
Continued jail time for children will most likely backfire and lead a child in the direction of criminal behavior. Some children will learn from the experience but many will not. Taking this chance is too risky and should never be a regular practice by so-called educated adults. However, because of this practice, American society currently has a higher prison incarceration rate than anywhere in the world. Jail is not always the answer, especially for menial crimes and simple unruly behavior of children.
Teaching the child is the answer, not incarcerating them or frightening them by extreme punishment using police officers with guns and jail cells. This is insane. Children are mentally and emotionally undeveloped people that need guidance, explanations of life, love, attention and care. School policies and methods of correction that include the latter practices are needed in all our school systems from K-12 and any police presence need to be removed completely from their daily vision.
Free To Learn has requested school district suspension records from three (3) local school systems: Chesterfield, Henrico, and Richmond public school systems, and are waiting for responses.
Note: The Free To Learn Project request the following:
- We challenge you to lower the suspension rate to zero.
- We request 3-day suspensions (if suspension is absolutely necessary) instead of 10-day suspensions.
- We request mediation with the child and the childs parents before suspension.
- We request two (2) firm warnings before actual arrest.