Today in unconscionable inequalities and harsh school discipline policies is a report from the New York Police Department revealing that from October to December 2011 an average of five students were arrested each school day. 75 percent of those arrested were male and 93.5 percent were students of color.
Needless to say, both statistics are disproportionate compared to the actual school population. Students of color, for instance, make up around 70 percent of students in city schools.
The NYPD report on student arrests was issued in compliance with the 2011 School Safety Act, which mandates the disclosure of information about in-school arrests and suspensions every three months. A previous report, which covered July through September 2011, found that 4 students were arrested per day on school grounds.
The purpose of making data like this available is to spark serious discussion of school discipline policies, particularly those that are overly harsh and push students out of school for minor infractions and increase the likelihood that they will fall into the criminal justice system. This school-to-prison pipeline is a serious threat to providing students with equal access to quality education opportunities. The younger and more often they face suspension or expulsion, the more likely they are to drop out of school altogether. A particularly troubling statistic from the report was that 18.6 percent of arrested students - almost 1 in 5 - were only in middle-school.
You can learn more about the effects of harsh discipline policies in the OTL School-to-Prison Pipeline toolkit, which you can download here.