Gone Too Far

Gone Too Far: Our Kids in Handcuffs

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Kyle Thompson likes playing football, playing video games, and hanging out with his friends. He's 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, 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 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.

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