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Children as victims and violent perpetrators—Annette Fuentes interviewed by the Associated Press

Chris Webb25 July 2011

In an interview with the Associated Press, Annette Fuentes, author of the myth busting Lockdown High: When the Schoolhouse Becomes a Jailhouse, insists that high-tech security and harsh disciplinary policies in schools have been used as ineffective political instruments—with the US security industry expanding their bottom-line inside the classroom. "There is just a huge disconnect between the public's perception of public schools and kids as dangerous and the reality," she tells the AP. "Kids today are no more violent than any other generation." Children today are paradoxically considered both victims of increasingly violent schoolyard behaviour and menacing perpetrators of great violence and mayhem themselves. In her book, Fuentes criticizes this mindset and the increasing militarization of education for creating a "school-to-prison pipeline," in which:

Students who are suspended in the lower grades are more likely to be suspended as they get older and by 9th grade, they are at risk of dropping out and into criminal activity. Failing schools create a pipeline into prison, in other words. Add to that a heavier police presence in many schools that means more students arrested for misbehaviors - pushing in the hallways becomes "assault" or "disorderly conduct" - and you have schools as feeders for the prison system.

Visit the Associated Press to read the article in full.

Filed under: interviews