The ACLU Strikes Again

MJS

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While reading todays paper, I came across this article, talking about a study the ACLU did, regarding kids who have been arrested, and the difference in the numbers depending on the race of the person in question. IMHO, I think that the ACLU needs to find more productive things to spend their time with.

Interestingly enough, my thoughts echo the ones of a police chief here in CT.

"The ACLU has a point of view," Strillacci said. "They think arrests are bad. I don't think society as a whole agrees with that."

When students fight and are arrested, Strillacci said, "You need to know the facts of the case. Stats don't give you that. Not all fights are alike."

So arresting kids is bad? Accoring to the ACLU it is:

The ACLU based its 50-page report on data collected from the East Hartford, Hartford and West Hartford school districts, police departments and the state Department of Education from 2004 to 2007. The information covers students in grades K-12. The civil liberties group is concerned about what it calls a national trend in "criminalizing, rather than educating" children and argued that school-based arrests feed a "school-to-prison pipeline," where students become early and frequent visitors to the criminal justice system.

Sorry, but what the real issue is, really doesn't have to do with school, it has to do with home life, and how these kids are being raised. Yes, without any guidance, that is what leads to the pipeline to prison.

So, because various groups may have done the same crime, they assume that the people in question should all be treated the same? Sorry, I disagree, because as it was already said, each offense will vary.

Thoughts?
 

Gordon Nore

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Thoughts?

I think we read a different article:

A quarter of West Hartford's 9,000-plus students are African Americans and Latinos, yet they accounted for nearly two-thirds of the town's public-school arrests in the 2006-07 year, the report said. Under the category of fighting including incidents reported to the state as "battery/assault" and "physical aggression" white students committed 160 offenses from 2005 to 2007 that resulted in 18 arrests. During the same period, African Americans committed 140 such offenses, but there were 32 arrests, the report said.

In East Hartford, African Americans and Latinos make up about 70 percent of the district's enrollment. Of the 24 Latino students cited for drug or alcohol offenses, eight were arrested. During the same period, 29 white students were cited for these offenses but only one was arrested, the report notes.

The ACLU is not quoted anywhere in the article that I can see as saying arrests are bad. The study looks at arrest rates in three schools where police have "resource officers." The chief's comments don't jibe with the contents of the article. They may reflect something said in the study which has not been shared in the news report. That being the case, I give the reported a "D-" for possibly trying to add controversy to the story.

The trick with arresting young offenders and putting them in the system is that, for some kids, the world doesn't immediately come crashing down upon being arrested. They get through it, discover it's survivable and test boundaries further. Putting kids in the clink doesn't have the scare factor it once did -- on the contrary, regardless what youngsters actually experience or feel about being arrested, it has become a badge of honour.

From the article:

The report, Dycus said, was not intended to "point fingers" but rather start a discussion that will lead to more focus on preventive measures such as mentoring, mental-health services and substance-abuse programs. Besides looking at arrest data, the ACLU also examined the resource officer programs themselves. The report recommends that towns in Connecticut create formal policies for their school resource officer programs and provide more detailed information about the rate and nature of student arrests so the programs can be evaluated regularly. The group also wants the state to mandate minimum training requirements for all school resource officers.

As for the parenting issue, where there are kids getting into a lot of trouble, there may well be problems at home. I won't contest that. Arresting kids, however, doesn't make their parents more competent, nor does it stabilize problems at home. Adults with poor parenting skills or limited resources, similarly, don't do well as advocates for their children. One of the saddest things I ever heard was when a principal told me that she had seen kids apprehended by police, and their parents wouldn't even show to the police division when called.

We have specially trained police who visit my school. I'm very grateful for them. They do work hard to forge a connection with kids and their families. I can certainly understand that these officers and their chief may feel undermined by the substance of the study. Unfortunately, when the subject of race comes up, someone is invariably tagged a "racist." Stories like this one are typically reported and read in a polarizing fashion.
 
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MJS

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I don't know, the 2nd part of the article that I quoted seems to give that impression, at least to me.

As far as the article goes, IMO, its nothing more than an excuse for people, in this case the ACLU, to complain that certain groups are being arrested more often than ones from other groups. The article gives the impression that this isn't fair and something should be done. Well, instead of crying that one group is arrested more than another, why not find a way to solve that issue?
 
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MJS

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As for the parenting issue, where there are kids getting into a lot of trouble, there may well be problems at home. I won't contest that. Arresting kids, however, doesn't make their parents more competent, nor does it stabilize problems at home. Adults with poor parenting skills or limited resources, similarly, don't do well as advocates for their children. One of the saddest things I ever heard was when a principal told me that she had seen kids apprehended by police, and their parents wouldn't even show to the police division when called.

That is sad, and one has to wonder why they won't show up. Maybe we should start removing these kids from those homes and putting the parents in jail instead of the kids. I mean, if a parent isn't fit to care for their kid(s), then they don't deserve to have them. The kids need a positive role model and in some cases, it seems that they're not getting one.
 

Gordon Nore

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I don't know, the 2nd part of the article that I quoted seems to give that impression, at least to me.

I don't discount your impression out of hand. The "school-to-prison pipeline" comment attributed to ACLU in the article is highly provocative, implying there is an agenda to get certain kids locked up. I don't see it as that conspiratorial -- many of us prefer to believe we've left racial injustice somewhere in the past, and are therefor prickly when the subject comes up. I can easily picture the actual exchange between that reporter and that police chief when the subject of race came up.

As I suggested in my initial response, I don't think we have very good public conversations about equality and fairness -- someone always has to come up as a bad guy.
 
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MJS

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I don't discount your impression out of hand. The "school-to-prison pipeline" comment attributed to ACLU in the article is highly provocative, implying there is an agenda to get certain kids locked up. I don't see it as that conspiratorial -- many of us prefer to believe we've left racial injustice somewhere in the past, and are therefor prickly when the subject comes up. I can easily picture the actual exchange between that reporter and that police chief when the subject of race came up.

As I suggested in my initial response, I don't think we have very good public conversations about equality and fairness -- someone always has to come up as a bad guy.

I just with that a) race wasn't always a factor with the ACLU, b) their 'studies' were not always pointing fingers and c) instead of pointing fingers, and saying there is a problem, which we all know there is, why not find a solution? If they put even a 1/4 of their energy into that instead of the other, we just may see a difference. :)
 

JBrainard

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That is sad, and one has to wonder why they won't show up. Maybe we should start removing these kids from those homes and putting the parents in jail instead of the kids. I mean, if a parent isn't fit to care for their kid(s), then they don't deserve to have them. The kids need a positive role model and in some cases, it seems that they're not getting one.

Well, that sounds good on paper, but it doesn't work that way. If you remove kids from thier homes and put them in foster care it's kind of like taking them out of the frying pan and putting them in the fire. I would much rather have parents that didn't give a **** about me than be in the foster care system. I don't know anyone who came out of the foster care system unscarred.
These kids do need a positive role model. Where are they going to find one? I don't know.
 
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MJS

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Well, that sounds good on paper, but it doesn't work that way. If you remove kids from thier homes and put them in foster care it's kind of like taking them out of the frying pan and putting them in the fire. I would much rather have parents that didn't give a **** about me than be in the foster care system. I don't know anyone who came out of the foster care system unscarred.
These kids do need a positive role model. Where are they going to find one? I don't know.

Well, here is an example of what you're talking about. Saw this in todays paper. That guy needs to be taken out back behind the shed......

Of course, we could only hope that cases like this are not happening often.

So, sadly, it looks like the kids are damned if they do, damned if they don't. They have crappy home lives and run the risk of getting stuck with a guy like the one I linked.
 

Phoenix44

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c) instead of pointing fingers, and saying there is a problem, which we all know there is, why not find a solution? If they put even a 1/4 of their energy into that instead of the other, we just may see a difference.

Finding a solution is a desirable outcome, but that's not what the ACLU does. The mission of the ACLU is to preserve and advocate for Consitutional protections, which might include identifying a race based differential application of due process. Finding a solution may be up to government or the educational system.
 

punisher73

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As a school liaison officer I thought I would add in my two cents. There are several disctricts in our county and each school might have someone from a different department in their school. For example, we have two schools that have county deputies in it, and three schools that have city police in them (two different departments thought), and one school that has a township officer in it.

One of the schools has an "arrest everyone" policy. It doesn't matter who it is, they are arrested on the spot. Others go by a case by case basis.

If I can go by my track record. I had one fight last year that happened at the school (I am assigned to a vocational education school, where students are only here 2 hrs 45 minutes and there are 19 different schools that have students attending) the fight was between two white boys and the one kid pushed the other and then that kid punched him back and then the teacher was right there and broke it up. I took the report and went complaint warrant and the student was on immediate suspension. This year I had two black girls attack a white girl, got her on the ground and started to kick her. The teachers tried to break it up and initially they pushed one teacher out of the way to get to the girl. I arrested both of them because of the nature of the crime.

So you can't just go by statistics, you HAVE to find out what the situations were in each case and the "why" of the decision.
 
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