This week on Everyday Injustice, we talked with Charles Bell, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Illinois State University, whose work focuses on school discipline, suspensions and the school-to-prison pipeline.
As Bell explains, his work focuses on how Black students and parents view school punishment, the disproportionate use of suspensions and criminal legal system solutions when dealing with Black and brown youth.
Bell’s book, Suspended: Punishment, Violence, and the Failure of School Safety, found that Black students made up 15% of the student population across the country, while being 39% of those who received one or more suspensions.
The school-to-prison pipeline as Bell explains, displays “a pipeline in which students enter school, and then school criminalizes their behavior. Increasingly, what we see is schools become a carceral space in which you have all these criminal justice elements.”
The term refers to the trend among school districts to enforce severe discipline policies that push students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system.
And as we discuss, this has a huge impact on the future of children of color.