Journal of Educational Controversy – Review: Police in the Hallways: Confronting the “Culture of Control”

Journal of Educational Controversy – Review: Police in the Hallways: Confronting the “Culture of Control”

My review ends:

Broadly, then, Nolan’s Police in the Hallways forces the reader to consider how the line between the police state in and out of school has become blurred in some children’s lives. It is a harsh lesson about how middle-class norms mask a cultural willingness to subject other people’s children (Delpit, 2006) to institutional policies and messages that no middle-class or affluent parents would accept for their own children:

In a grossly inequitable school system and stratified society, punitive urban school disciplinary policies serve the interests of the white middle and wealthy classes, as poor youth of color are demonized through the discourses of zero tolerance and subjected to heavy policing. (Kindle Locations 2391-2392)

One comment

  1. Bridget

    As an administrator of a high poverty elementary school of 600 students, I take issue with the unfair portrayal of our schools as a “school to prison pipeline”. The truth of the matter is that the pipeline begins long before these students enter school. These students are the products of the extreme poverty and dysfunctional home lives to which they are born. Most are born into home environments that fail to support their success in school or any part of society with rules and authority figures. They are usually being raised by parents who are drug abusers and who themselves do not respect the rules of our society. Although there are exceptions, it has been my experience that these students do not have functional homelives, and have a long history of discipline problems from early grades. By the time they begin getting suspended from school they have probably been through a myriad of behavior interventions. Some may not have been lucky enough to experience positive interventions, but it does not negate the fact that the consequences of their actions are a direct result of their extreme disruptful behavior. It is my responsibility to protect ALL 600 of my students. When I suspend a student or even expel a student, it is because their behavior presents a danger to the rest of the students and they disrupt the learning of the rest of the students. If I were to accept their disrespectful and disruptive behavior, I would consider it a failure on my part. I work extremely hard with these students to give them the tools to succeed, but in the end it is their choice to make good choices or not. I establish a relationship of respect and accountability for actions. I teach them about consequences of their actions, and accepting the consequences once they make a choice, good or bad. I do them no favors by not following through with consequences. When they enter into the juvenile court system, it is the result of their own actions, not mine. I see that system as my last resort. It is the final course of action after I have exhausted all of my extremely limited resources available to schools. It is unfair to the discipline challenged student and it is unfair to the rest of my students to continue to allow them to disrupt the learning and safety at our school. They need an alternative path to education that better meets their needs. They make the choice to break the rules that all other students abide by. They know the consequences of their actions. It is unfair to blame schools for holding them accountable for the same rules of school and society that the rest of the students are expected to follow. It is time to stop blaming schools for the actions of the students and the inactions of their parents. It is time to put resources in place that begin with early intervention and provide these families with supports before they enter the juvenile justice system. Stop blaming schools for the greater failures of society.

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