The effects of zero tolerance policies on the school-to-prison


The school to prison pipeline includes school, practices and safety policies in school that results in pushing students out of schools into the juvenile justice system. Leaning institution usually result to sending students to the pipeline through their zero-tolerance disciplinary procedures. The most commonly affected individuals are students and young adults from the disadvantaged backgrounds who are incarcerated due to increased harsh school policies. Several factors also result to this situation for example the school disturbance laws and a high increase in police in learning institutions increases. Children are being depicted as criminals while in their young age, and this problem also has roots in the social and economic inequalities.
Education disparities also contribute to pushing this occurrence. Learning institutions also indirectly push school students into this pipeline through expulsion, discouragement and suspensions (Aldridge &Sarah, 5). Youths with disabilities, LGBTQ students, and students of color when they commit minor offenses such as using a cell phone, smoking in school, coming to school out of uniform, fighting and threatening other students and teachers. The application of this policies however is varied from one school to the other (Aronowitz et al., 54). The implementation of the strict policies in school had an intention of making learning institutions safer, but it has turned to be a pipeline that sends students to the juvenile justice system.
Recent findings about school to prison pipeline indicates that school children who attend learning institutions that have strict policies for instance high suspension rates are more likely arrested and taken to jail. The most affected students are those from the Black and Hispanic communities, they experience high expulsion and suspension rates at a high level and they are also disproportionately represented in the juvenile criminal justice system (Henry et al., 5). The presence of police officers in learning institutions has been a recent issue of concern that has attracted a wide discussion and school disciplinary policies have been widely discussed. Various learning institution have implemented numerous strategies to help combat crime (Aldridge &Sarah, 6). One of the current implementations is the zero-tolerance policies that has resulted in increased punishment in schools. Secondly, some learning institutions have resorted to outsourcing discipline in school through the use of police officers into the learning institution. Moreover, a recent concern about the school-to prison pipeline is a discussion by education departments on the need to have new changes on the discipline policies of their institutions.
Factors that result to school to prison pipeline bring negative impacts to learners. Policies and procedures that drive students to the criminal justice system have to be addressed. Harsh discipline policies that often include imposition of expulsion and suspensions in school can result to a high school dropout for various students (Henry et al., 7). Learning institutions have to be friendly places where students get proper education. Schools have to be nurturing institutions where children are taught a variety of issues to help them avoid future incarceration (Aronowitz et al., 55). Instructors and administrators in various learning institutions have to provide high value on the academic and psychosocial developments of learners. Contributory factors to school to prison pipeline have to be dealt with effectively to ensure that learners maximumly benefit in school without any harsh punishment.
Suspending and punishing students harshly do not help them improve on this skill and various strategies in their lives. It has been demonstrated that students who are expelled and suspended are more likely to repeat similar mistakes and end up in the juvenile justice system (Aronowitz et al., 54). It is therefore significant to implement the following vital implementation to help establish better ways to benefit students in the learning institutions. One of the ways is that schools have to avoid implementing policies to provide harsh punishment but create favorable school climate. Teachers and administrators in schools have to provide guidance to students on the appropriate ways to develop their social and emotional skills (Henry et al., 8). The second thing is about the creation of fairness for all learners in school without discriminating any race or ethnic background of a student. Thirdly is the use of home and family interventions to help create behavior modification on young individuals to help reduces misconducts, thus limiting arrests in schools. Zero tolerance policies in schools create the school prison pipeline.
In conclusion, every student deserves adequate opportunities to enable them to learn and grow in an efficient and a safe education environment. The policies that have been implementing by various schools have resulted to increasing many students into the criminal justice system. Learning institutions have to be encouraged to develop favorable policies that will help them deal with misconduct in school in an efficient manner. Also, various education stakeholders have to work with school administrators to create fairness in schools for all students.


Work cited
Aronowitz, Shoshana V., BoRam Kim, and Teri Aronowitz. “A mixed-studies review of the school-to-prison pipeline and a call to action for school nurses.” The Journal of School Nursing 37.1 (2021): 51-60.
Henry, Kade-Ann K., et al. “Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Perception and Experience with Zero-Tolerance Policies and Interventions to Address Racial Inequality.” Behavior Analysis in Practice (2021): 1-10.
Aldridge, Sarah. “Criminalization and discrimination in schools: The effects of zero tolerance policies on the school-to-prison pipeline for black girls.” Aisthesis: Honors Student Journal 9.2 (2018): 1-7.

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