There is a growing national trend in which children and adolescents are funneled out of the public school system and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems—where students are treated as criminals in the schools themselves and are expected to fall into this pattern rather than even attempt to seek opportunities to fulfill the ever elusive “American Dream”. There is a blatant injustice happening in our schools, places that ironically should be considered safe havens, places for knowledge, and means of escape for children who have already been failed by the system and sequestered to under-resourced, overcrowded, and over-surveilled inner cities. Focusing on the damage the public education system has caused and the ways in which policies and practices have effectively made the school-to-prison pipeline a likely trajectory for many Black and Latinx students, we hope to convey the urgency of this crisis and expose the ways in which our youth are stifled, repeatedly, by this form of systematic injustice. We will describe models of restorative justice practices—both within and beyond the classroom—and hope to convey how no matter how well intentioned, they are not adequate solutions to a phenomenon tied to neoliberal ideologies. Thus, we ultimately aim to exemplify how a feminist approach to education would radically restructure the system as we know it, truly creating a path out of this crisis.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited