Education NOT Incarceration

When thinking about our k-12 educational experience for many of us it brings back joyful memories, but for many others, it brings back the beginning of what we call the school to prison pipeline. In the United States, the school to prison pipeline is a problem that is impacting the lives of many youths in a negative way. Our youth of color are being targeted and are given punishments that are twice as harsh for committing the same crimes or violations as white students. We live in “the land of the free” but our schools are more segregated than ever before. Hyper-segregated schools have grown from 5.7% in 1988 to 18.4%, we are still not allowing our youth of color to reach their highest potential. 
 Schools established in lower socio-economic areas are policing our students instead of teaching our students. Those same schools are looking more and more like prisons. In many high schools, students have to go through medal detectors and be frisked by police officers on a daily basis before entering their school. We see that in poor schools there are police offers on campus that refer students to the Juvenile System. Many schools has zero tolerance policies, which have become a great source for targeting students and referring them to the juvenile justice system for violations as simple as not following the dress code. 
 Our schools need to be reform and we need to find better ways to discipline our youth of color. The youth of color cannot continue to be a target and the highest criminalized groups in our schools. It is not a surprise that our prisons are filled with majority African Americans and Latinos. We need to start with having teachers who are more inclusive and provide every student with the adequate motivation. We need to empower our youth of color and encourage them to believe that they can reach their highest potential. We need to create schools that look like schools, and not prisons, we need to created schools that develop scholars, not inmates.