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Stop Locking Up Students!

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An Indianapolis-area judge has sent a letter to district superintendents that insists school administrators stop having so many students arrested. The letter says that 1,500 Indy kids are sent to juvenile detention centers annually, but that 80 percent of those are never charged. What happens instead is that the juvenile centers simply send the kids back, but they have the stigma of being arrested attached.

"Locking up kids is not the right way to solve this problem," Moores said in her letter that also said she had no intention of processing kids who were not appropriate for a detention center. ""We have to draw the line because we don't want to make major criminals out of rowdy kids."

The trend to arrest first, and ask questions later, throughout schools districts in the nation is troubling. Judge Moores hit the nail on the head when she pointed out that sometimes having a child arrested makes even more trouble and I believe it can even be the catalyst that pushes some kids into the criminal lifestyle. Yes, we want to keep all our students safe and violent actions or threats on school campuses must be taken seriously. There needs to be more resolution inside schools, though, instead of always turning to the criminal justice system -- particularly for non-violent, minor issues.

We need more support within schools to handle the behavior issues that arise, whether that be for more training for teachers or better equipped school counselors and administrators. Keeping "bad" kids in school benefits us all - not just the student otherwise facing arrest.

 

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The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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