Resources: Restraint, Criminalization, Zero Tolerance, Disability, Schools, Compliance

These are stories of restraint, criminalization, and the cult of compliance in our schools. Most, but not all, involve disability. Names are as listed in the media reports, sometimes with last names, sometimes not. More to come.

Lede – Virginia: Kayleb Moon-Robinson: 11, black, autistic. Criminalized for kicking a trash can and not staying in his room after. Here’s the PRI report, the longer Center for Public Integrity report, and a similar report from Reveal.

Restraint – Disability. Please note that this is not representative of racial breakdown of cases, but of cases that have made the news recently. I suggest that white kids are more likely to get this kind of attention, given the data below about the ways that zero tolerance policies are more likely to be used against African American kids.

  • Tennessee: Colton Granito, 8, autistic, white, was “arrested, thrown in a jail cell, and placed in a strait jacket over an outburst at his elementary school.
  • Georgia: Patrick, 6, “special needs,” black – placed in handcuffs by School Resource Officer (SRO) to “keep him from hurting himself,” in violation of the IEP. (My blog post on it)
  • Indiana: Kevin, 10, “behavior issues,” black – tackled by school police, handcuffed, head injured.
  • Georgia: Salecia Johnson, 6, black. Arrested for tantrum. “According to the police report, Johnson tore items off the wall, threw furniture, and knocked down a shelf that injured the school’s principal. Cops said since they couldn’t reach Johnson’s parents that the girl had to be arrested.”
  • Virginia: 4 year old, ADD, no other details: Arrested, handcuffed, shackled, taken to police station because – “The pre-kindergarten student had thrown blocks, climbed on and over deks, and scratched and kicked both the principal and the director of special education. “The boy was out of control, basically, throwing his arms around and kicking– trying to kick the deputy, trying to run away, and the deputy felt that putting the handcuffs on him was for his safety as well as everybody else’s,”
  • Michigan: Kevin, 13, autistic, white. Refused to get up from desk in an empty classroom, so police come in and handcuff him as he screens. Original post here. Re-post with working video here.
  • Florida: Ryan, 10, autistic, Latino. Ryan made threats against himself with scissors. School called police and not initially parents. Police dragged him down the hall, handcuffed and pressed to the back of a hot car, and invoked “involuntary commitment” Baker act.
  • Oklahoma: No name given, 9, ADHD, Schizophrenia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, white. Handcuffed as a threat despite presence of father.
  • Washington: Wyatt, 6, Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Restrained in bus due to unruly behavior. (My blog).
Other Compliance – Disability

Compliance – Not Disability

General Studies (reporting from ProPublica)

  • New York and LA pin down kids then say it never happened.
  • Connecticut pins down and restrains a “staggering” number of kids.
Zero Tolerance Studies
  • Study –  Tracing the School-to-Prison Pipeline from Zero-Tolerance Policies to Juvenile Justice Dispositions,
  • The Hidden Side of Zero Tolerance Policies: The African American Perspectives.” By Charles Bell.
  • How Urban Minorities are Punished for White Suburban Violence (via Jstor).
  • Weapons in Schools and Zero Tolerance Policies.
  • Gender, Race, and Disability Disparities in Who is Subject to Corporal Punishment.
  • Zero Tolerance – Moving the Conversation Forward.
  • Zero Tolerance – Overview
    • Zero tolerance policies may negatively impact students with disabilities to a greater degree than students without special needs. Although IDEA ’97 requires continuing educational services for any student with a disability who is suspended for more than 10 consecutive days or 10 cumulative days in one academic year, policies that require suspension or expulsion for certain behaviors put many students with disabilities outside of the education setting, apart from educators who could help address their needs. Further, discipline practices that restrict access to appropriate education often exacerbate the problems of students with disabilities, increasing the probability that these students will not complete high school. School personnel charged with disciplining students with disabilities must be familiar with relevant components of IDEA ’97, including the provisions for Interim Alternative Educational Placements (see resources below). Other alternatives are mandated by federal and state statute to assure that students with disabilities have ongoing access to an appropriate education.
  • When can zero tolerance policies be applied to people with special needs?
    • When a school district seeks to expel or suspend a student with a disability for more than ten days, the threshold
      question that must be answered is whether the conduct at issue was a manifestation of the student’s disability.
      The law provides a very favorable standard for making this determination. In order to find that the misconduct
      was not a manifestation of the student’s disabilities, all of the following must be found to be true
      • (1) the child’s IEP and placement were appropriate, and the school provided services consistent
        with the IEP;
      •  (2) the child’s disability did not impair the child’s ability to understand the impact and
        consequences of the behavior subject to disciplinary action; and 
      • (3) the child’s disability did not impair the child’s ability to control the behavior. 
    • If any of these conditions are not met, the school district may not discipline the child.

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