The School-to-Prison Pipeline in Kalamazoo, Michigan: Policy, Politics, and Practice
The school-to-prison pipeline is nothing short of the civil rights movement of our generation. To this end, it will require the same level of social and political activism on the part of affected citizens for it to be addressed on a national political scale. If we are to claim that we are a country founded upon a respect for human dignity and the provision of equal opportunity for success, then we must dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline on all fronts, as it entirely contradicts these notions. A punitive approach to justice that emphasizes law and order, while perhaps initially benefiting the dominant power segment of society, does not ultimately provide a safe community for all people. In order to create peaceful communities, we must reject retribution and embrace healing the harm that crime creates. For no one can this shift have a more significant impact than the youngest offenders in our society. If we affirm to them that they have worth and the potential to grow and learn by providing all young people with a quality education in a safe environment and the chance for rehabilitation if they do commit a crime, then we empower them to potentially become not just engaged citizens, but effective social leaders.