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Why are children as young as five being arrested in schools across the USA?
In a misguided attempt to avoid another Columbine, in ‘zero tolerance’ states like Texas, Florida and California, police forces armed with guns and pepper spray have been patrolling hallways, monitoring playground activity and enforcing classroom discipline. As a result, each year hundreds of thousands of school-age children have been arrested, fined or incarcerated for ‘offences’ such as chewing gum, being late for class or talking back to a teacher. Many are absorbed into the criminal justice system, their records forever tarnished, their future prospects forever diminished.
Critics claim that the school cops go too far, that instead of dealing only with genuine criminal behaviour, they have criminalised normal childlike behaviour in a cynical money-making move. Have American schools become a pipeline to prison?
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