Schools Training

We Need to Stop the Link between Special Education Students and Prison

27 OCT 2014
Career Path : Education News

We Must Stop the Connection between prisons and special needs

Out of all the thousands of children caught up in the juvenile justice system, it is estimated that one in three has a disability, whether an emotional disability like bipolar disorder or a learning disability like dyslexia. What educators call this, is a failure on the part of the special education system.

According to a 1997 Bureau of Justice Statistics survey, the vast majority of adults serving time in the prison system have a disability. Many trace this back to low-income schools, which have improper staff and facilities to deal with mental illness in young people and teenagers. Youth afflicted with mental disorders often get frustrated and, without an outlet, lash out at school as a result.

The school-to-prison pipeline is a term used commonly in the U.S., but also in Canada, to describe the pattern of students being pushed out of school and into the prison system. This is caused by long unnecessary trials for student misconduct causing them to miss class. After these trials, a student may often find themselves in a juvenile prison with no chance of going back to school. Prisons unfortunately often lack proper education facilities, even though they are required to provide youth an education until the age of 21.

So what can we do about this issue? Like all issues, the answer is in the roots of the problem. Getting proper, trained special education staff into all schools is not an easy fix, but the best way to stop the prison-to-pipeline system dead in its tracks.

Source: The Clarion Ledger