Police can solve a problem or become a problem. School should be a safe place for students where there are no guns because it’s a place to learn. Seeing armed police might make students feel there is a danger in school. Yet, police can also protect the students and the staff. With every mass shooting there is a call for more law enforcement officers with guns. School officers are supposed to make necessary arrests, provide security, and prevent crime. Yet it’s clear that some officers don’t have the training or temperament. In October, the shocking video emerged of a teenage girl sitting at her desk in South Carolina who was angrily flipped and tossed by a school officer after she refused to leave a classroom where she was being disruptive. That student and others should look at school cops as role models. But many students in urban schools come from communities where police are not trusted, and they may have trauma from seeing police abuse citizens outside of school. Cops can be on call if trouble strikes. But teachers, headmasters, and counselors are the ones who can help students be safe. Students should feel like they are in school -- not prison.
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APPLY NOW! Want a job at TiP Summer Journalism Institute?
SUMMER JOB SQUAD: Interested in snagging one of the best summer jobs in the city? You can earn $250 a week -- plus free breakfasts and weekly field trips -- writing stories for the citywide youth newspaper, Boston Teens in Print. The session runs from July 5 to August 12. You must live in Boston and be attending high school in fall of 2016. Complete these steps:  Step 1:
  • You must register at  youth.boston.gov  and apply with SuccessLink.   
  • You must be eligible to work; to find out -->  
  • However, if you don’t qualify for the city’s SuccessLink you can still take part in the program for free and earn community service hours.
Step 2:
  • Fill out the online application below and then click on the submit form button. 
  • If you have any questions, please call TiP coordinator Ric Kahn at 617-541-2651 or e-mail him at ric.kahn@boston.gov 
 

The WriteBoston TiP Summer Journalism Institute

July 5 - August 12, 2016

Have you registered with the city's SuccessLink at youth.boston.gov using the WriteBoston requisition ID 2016-1467 ?

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Zero tolerance is when they crack down hard on students for breaking rules at school. Originally intended to make schools safer by taking action against youth caught with guns or drugs, sometimes the policy has gone too far, punishing students carrying headache medicine, for example. In some communities, critics also say that kids of color have been unfairly targeted. Adopting zero tolerance policies are far easier than taking the time to build real relationships with young men and women and counsel them, or find the root reasons behind their misbehavior. These clampdowns can push students to drop out of school by filling their records with suspensions and failing marks and making them repeat grades. Once on the street, these youth often make bad decisions and turn into full-time outlaws. Instead of becoming lawyers or doctors, they wind up needing the survival services of doctors or lawyers. We all want peace on the street. To have peace, we should not take away the very tool that allows for success. Education is that tool.
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Maybe it’s because they’ve been here longer than anybody. But Native Americans today are seen as relics of the past -- if they’re seen at all. “Indians are not around anymore, so why should we care about cultural sensitivities?” says Jamari Williams, 17, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. Behind the stale stereotypes and racist sports symbols, advocates say, Native Americans still suffer the generational aftereffects of isolation after being forced from their families, for example, and placed into boarding schools bent on assimilation by the government and their surrogates. These include high rates of poverty and youth suicide. Still, after years of cultural suppression, Native American advocates say many of their people remain spiritual and philosophical and very much in tune with touchstones like natural meditation and rites of passage. “I used to think about things like Thanksgiving and alcoholism when I thought about Natives,” says Wood Jerry, 18, who goes to school in West Roxbury. “But when I met a close friend of mine who is Alaskan Native, she showed me the pride held for her culture....She shaped my understanding to seeing the duality in a people we usually forget.” This article was prepared in collaboration with 826 Boston.  
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For many students, school suspensions simply make no sense. At the end of the day, that same student who was suspended could have just stayed home. In October, the Boston Student Advisory Council conducted its fifth annual Listening Project, collecting data about school discipline. Among the key findings from the survey of over 240 students:
  •  60% said they felt their race, ethnicity, physical appearance, gender, gender expression, sexuality, sexual identity, disability, or English Language Learner status influenced how often they get disciplined at school;
  • 75% said they think out-of-school suspension is not effective as a disciplinary tactic;
  •  60% think out-of-school suspension should end entirely as a disciplinary tactic;
  • 50% did no t know how disciplinary hearings work at their school. In many cases, schools are supposed to try alternatives before suspending or expelling students.
These include: peer counseling, student-teacher conferences, mentoring, community service, and other restorative justice measures. If schools continue to eject students, the downward cycle will continue and could lead to a permanent escape from classrooms, also known as dropping out -- which can be one stop on the school to- prison pipeline. If you would like to help promote change in your school or community, BSAC holds steering committee meetings twice a month. Contact Arthur Collins at acollins3@ bostonpublicschools.org if you’re interested.
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