A new report entitled, “The State of the School-to-Prison-Pipeline in the Wake County Public School System,” was released on August 19, 2013 by Advocates for Children’s Services (ACS), a project of Legal Aid of North Carolina. Relying on the latest available data (2011-12), the report details the high number of suspensions in North Carolina’s largest school district, and the disproportionate number of suspensions meted out to minority children. Also called out in the report is the troubling fact that “WCPSS is funneling students, particularly students of color, directly into the juvenile delinquency system at increasing and alarming rates.”
Some of the reports findings:
– Long-term suspension rates in WCPSS were among the highest in North Carolina, in part due to the district’s severe shortage of alternatives to suspension (e.g., restorative justice, community service, and mandatory counseling).
– The district had a severe shortage of school psychologists, social workers and guidance counselors, with ratios well below national recommendations.
– The alternative schools and programs within the WCPSS are highly segregated, low-achieving and punitive.
– The WCPSS had a massive security presence in its schools – including a Security Department staff, private security guards, and law enforcement officers – yet security personnel lacked adequate training, limitations and accountability, and inconsistencies existed among schools.
– Arbitrary suspension recommendations from an inadequate Code of Conduct are leading to inequitable applications. Nearly all long-term suspensions are recommended to extend through the end of the school year, so two students who commit the same offense may receive vastly different suspension periods depending on when they committed their offense.
Read the press release from Advocates for Children’s Services, a project of Legal Aid of North Carolina.