Kyle Thompson likes playing football, playing video games, and hanging out with his friends. The Michigan student has also been under house arrest since last March and barred from school for six months. Why? His teacher wanted to see a note he had written, His teacher wanted to see a note he had written, a joking “hit list” of people he wanted to hit on the football field, and she tried to take it from him. He thought she was teasing him about it and was playfully trying to get the note back. When he realized this wasn't play, he immediately let her have the note. That misunderstanding got Kyle thrown in jail, and placed under house arrest.
Kyle is part of a national trend where children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Many of these children have learning disabilities or histories of poverty, abuse or neglect, and would benefit from additional educational and counseling services. Instead, they are isolated, punished and pushed out. "Zero-tolerance" policies criminalize minor infractions of school rules, while cops in school lead to students being criminalized for behavior that should be handled inside the school. Students of color are especially vulnerable to push-out trends and the discriminatory application of discipline.
The ACLU believes that children should be educated, not incarcerated. We are working to challenge policies and practices that contribute to the school to prison pipeline.
Watch Kyle's video below, and to learn more about the school-to-prison pipeline here.