Special ed students disproportionately hurt by school-to-prison pipeline
- As many districts nationwide work to address the school-to-prison pipeline, research is being highlighted showing the disproportionate number of special education students with behavioral or emotional disabilities affected.
- Particularly, those students in low-performing schools without mental health care and highly qualified teachers and staff are especially impacted — and once they end up in jail, their education is often minimal or non-existent despite federal mandates.
- Around one out of every three kids that enters the juvenile justice system is estimated to have an emotional or learning disability, and that number could be as high as 70%, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, over 14,600 Mississippi students passed through the juvenile justice system in 2012. The paper notes, however, that the state doesn't track how many were special education students but that it plans to start this year.
And that's just one state. Ultimately, this goes beyond just addressing the school-to-prison pipeline, as it also involves the nation's mental health care system. The issue of providing adequate mental health has come into the spotlight numerous times in recent years with a number of tragedies, including school shootings. The key to solving one problem may be taking steps to fix both.
- The Jackson Clarion-Ledger Special education too often leads to jail
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