Treating children like criminals in school leads to them adopting maladaptive behavior and eventually falling prey to criminality.
Arresting students in school for minor infractions, using police officers as hallway monitors, enforcing strict dress codes that marginalize cultural expression, banning ethnic hairstyles, outlawing certain ways to wear clothing marks Afro and Latino students with a bullseye.
The pipeline doesn't start in school, it starts where our children live. The mental conditioning begins with red brick public housing. Low-income families live cramped on top of one another. Those who manage these properties treat families with enmity and neglect. As a result, children witness the disrespect of their parents by property management and internalize that trauma while normalizing the idea of strangers recklessly supervising their lives with impunity.
Public schools are also designed with the same red bricks. Inside, students of color are treated like perpetrators, uninvited guests and super-predators by some faculty. The criminalizing of pre-teens begins in this type of environment and breeds contempt from students.
The final stop is the prison plantation; another red brick building where urban men are dehumanized, denied sound healthcare, meaningful visits with family and nutritious food. By now, they are mentally indoctrinated by years of mistreatment to accept these conditions.
Which is prison and which is high school?
Many public schools in urban neighborhoods are built like prisons. Many don't have windows and are structured to indoctrinate our children to move when the bell sounds, single file in the hallway, enforced dress code so that when they are sentenced to prison and arrive on the plantation, they've already become accustomed to dehumanization. Starting at home in public housing, the pipeline is designed to produce criminals, not citizens.
Only those who've been system-affected, can affect the system.