Blog: schools

2011's top 10 stories on juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse

Here are our top 10 stories on juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse from 2011:

#10. School Superintendent to Governor: Please make my school a prison
A Michigan public school superintendent asked the state's Governor to classify his school as a prison in order to receive additional funding for his students.
#9. School-to-prison pipeline: Why school discipline is the key (video) and what to do about it
We took a look at school disciplinary policies and Connecticut's efforts to disrupt the pipeline and educate its kids.
#8. House Appropriations Committee eliminates most juvenile justice funding
John Kelly took a look at a bill before the House of Representatives that would eliminate most federal spending for juvenile justice activities. 
#7. SAMHSA changes substance abuse and mental health block grants - your comments (still) needed!
SAMHSA revamped its block grant applications for substance abuse and mental health treatment and asked for comments on proposed changes.
#6. Adolescent substance abuse: "bath salts" an emerging risk
We warned about the emerging use of "bath salts" as stimulants and the DEA's reaction against them.

Stay tuned for the TOP FIVE stories of 2011! And in case you missed them, and check out the top 20 and top 15.

2011's top 20 stories on juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse, part 2

Continuing the countdown of the top 20 most popular stories on juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse of 2011: 

#15. Why police need to better understand trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Lisa H. Thurau explained why it's so important for police officers to understand the effects of trauma on children.
#14. Webinar: The School-to-Prison Pipeline
In this webinar, Judge Steven Teske explained how one school district worked to reduce referrals to juvenile courts while simultaneously addressing disruptive behavior. (The archived webinar is available for viewing.)
#13. "Beyond 'Scared Straight'" returns to promote a discredited juvenile justice intervention (roundup)
Ahead of the second season of "Beyond 'Scared Straight,'" we shared coverage discrediting Scared Straight and its methods.
#12. Why more cops in schools is a bad idea
A new report from the Justice Policy Institute found that an increase in the presence of law enforcement in schools coincides with increases in referrals to the juvenile justice system, especially for minor offenses like disordly conduct.
#11. Teen brain development: neural gawkiness
Chris Sturgis explained what goes on in the child and teenage brain and how we can use that knowledge to help youngsters keep out of trouble.

 Stay tuned for the TOP TEN most popular stories.. 

DC black students expelled at greater rate than white students

Black students in the DC area are being suspended and expelled from school 2 to 5 times as often as white students. This disturbing fact has big implications for youth and the juvenile justice system.
A new analysis by The Washington Post found that almost 6 percent of black students were suspended or expelled from school last year, compared with 1.2 percent of white students. Across the country, 15 percent of black students were suspended, compared with five percent of white students, 7 percent of Hispanics and 3 percent of Asians. 
In many states, students are suspended not only for violent acts but also for disrespect, defiance, insubordination, disruption and bad language. These infractions are subjective and give educators a lot of leeway in deciding when to report students.
As The Washington Post explains:

The stakes are high for those who get booted out of school.
Out-of-school suspensions mean lost classroom time and, for some, disconnection from school. A recent landmark study of nearly a million Texas children showed that suspension increased the likelihood of repeating a grade that year and landing in the juvenile-justice system the next year. It also was linked to dropping out.

Arresting school kids: Tide turns against zero tolerance

Several news stories across the United States last month focused on the alarming increase in the number of students arrested inside public schools—and for alarmingly minor behavior.
The Justice Policy Institute recently released a large study on the use of police officers in schools and the resulting arrest rates of students. The report discusses how reports of victimization and bullying have no correlation, positive or negative, with the presence of police officers in schools.
Further, schools with in-house police officers are funneling more kids into the juvenile justice system. A study of such schools found that five times as many students were arrested for disorderly conduct at those schools, even when controlling for economic factors.
Arresting kids for minor misbehavior that would more appropriately be addressed with standard school and parental discipline imposes a high cost on the juvenile justice system, and states are taking notice.

Why more cops in schools is a bad idea

Via the Justice Policy Institute comes a new report titled Education Under Arrest: The Case Against Police in Schools. The report cites recent cases to conclude that increases in the presence of law enforcement agents in schools, especially in the form of school resource officers (SROs), coincides with increases in referrals to the juvenile justice system, especially for minor offenses like disorderly conduct.
The report concludes the trend causing lasting harm, as arrests and referrals to the juvenile justice system disrupt the educational process and can lead to suspensions, expulsions or other alienation from school.
From the Justice Policy's companion blog post: "All of these negative effects set youth on a track to drop out of school and put them at greater risk of becoming involved in the justice system later on, all at tremendous costs for taxpayers aswell the youth themselves and their communities."
You can dowload the full report (PDF) here.