Preparing american kids for a career in the rapidly growing corrections industry!
School police increasingly arresting American students
Austin, TX. – A growing police presence in Texas public schools is coinciding with increased Class C misdemeanor ticketing and arrest of students for low-level, non-violent behavior that historically has been handled at the school level – sending more youth to court and increasing their chances of academic failure and future justice system involvement, according to the third in a series of reports on Texas’ “school-to-prison pipeline” released today by the public interest law center Texas Appleseed. [Link: Report , see Executive Summary for findings/recommendations.]
“We are strongly recommending that Chapter 37 of the Education Code be amended to eliminate Disruption of Class and Disruption of Transportation as penal code offenses for which students can be ticketed, and to clarify that arrest of students be a last resort reserved for behavioral incidents involving weapons and threatening safety. This would go a long way toward helping check the move of student discipline from schools to the courthouse,” said Texas Appleseed Deputy Director Deborah Fowler. The increase in ticketing comes at a time when overall juvenile crime rates are low, she said.
Also of major concern is the broad discretion given to school police officers to use pepper spray, Tasers and other types of force – and the lack of transparency around some schools’ “use of force” policies, Fowler said. “These types of force have been shown to cause physical and psychological harm to adults, and the impact on children can be even more devastating,” she said. While many school districts make their use of force policies publicly available, others have sought and used an Attorney General’s decision to keep such policies from parents and the public. Texas Appleseed filed suit last year against San Antonio ISD and Spring Branch ISD to compel full disclosure.
“School-based policing is one of the fastest growing areas of law enforcement,” Fowler said, “yet school police officers receive little training specific to child development or working in school environments, and there is little to no review of ticketing and arrest practices at the school level to determine their impact and effectiveness in improving student behavior and no required reporting of this data to the Texas Education Agency.” A body of research across the country indicates that Positive Behavioral Support programs in schools are much more effective in improving behavior, school climate and campus safety, she said. Last month, New York City became the latest to require its school police department to provide data on student arrest and ticketing in response to growing concern about using this approach to address low-level student misbehavior.
Based on 2009 data from the Texas Office of Court Administration, it appears that at least 275,000 Class C tickets were issued that year for offenses most commonly associated with school-based misbehavior, but poor recordkeeping and reporting makes it impossible to point to a definitive number,” Fowler said. In response to Texas Appleseed’s open records request to the 167 Texas school districts with stand-alone police departments, only 22 districts and four court jurisdictions provided 2006-07 ticketing data – representing almost a quarter of Texas’ students. These districts issued close to 32,000 tickets that year, with the greatest number reported in Houston ISD, 4,828; Dallas ISD, 4,402; San Antonio ISD, 3,760; Brownsville ISD, 2,856; and Austin ISD, 2,653. Districts with the highest ticketing rate (per student population) that year were Galveston ISD, 11%; San Antonio, Somerville and Waco ISDs, 7%; and Brownsville and East Central ISD, 6%.
Juvenile justice officials told Texas Appleseed that a large percentage of their referrals result from school-based arrests, Fowler said. In the 17 districts providing 2006-07 arrest data to Texas Appleseed (accounting for 13 percent of the state’s total enrollment that year), 7,100 students were arrested. The state’s two largest districts with stand-alone police departments, Dallas and Houston ISDs, could not provide any requested student arrest data.
The data that Texas Appleseed collected reflects these important trends:
- Most Class C misdemeanor tickets written by school police officers are for low-level, non-violent misbehavior that do not involve weapons, yet ticketing can have far-reaching financial and legal impacts. Fines and costs associated with Class C tickets, reported to Texas Appleseed by municipal courts, range from less than $60 to more than $500 per ticket. Failure to pay the fine, complete court-ordered community service or comply with a notice to appear in court can result in the youth’s arrest at age 17. African American and Hispanic youth are disproportionately affected by this practice, and the ACLU of Texas recently filed suit against Hidalgo County after discovering hundreds of teens had been jailed for unpaid truancy tickets issued years earlier. While a new state law (SB 1056, 2009) mandates criminal courts (including municipal and justice courts handling Class C tickets) immediately issue a nondisclosure order upon the conviction of a child for a misdemeanor offense punishable by fine only, the large volume of these cases has created a huge backlog, resulting in Class C misdemeanors remaining on a youth’s “criminal record” accessible by future employers and others.
- Ticketing has increased substantially over a two- to five-year period, and where the child attends school – and not the nature of the offense – is the greater predictor of whether a child will be ticketed at school. Twenty-two of the 26 school districts or jurisdictions supplying ticketing data reported an increase in the number of tickets issued at school.
- African American and (to a lesser extent) Hispanic students are disproportionately represented in Class C misdemeanor ticketing in Texas schools. Of the 15 districts that could disaggregate ticketing data by race and ethnicity, 11 disproportionately ticketed African American students compared to their percentage of the total student population in 2006-07. In the most recent year for which ticketing data is available, these districts reported ticketing African American students at a rate double their representation in the student body: Austin ISD, Dallas ISD, Humble ISD, Katy ISD, and San Antonio ISD.
- It is not unusual for elementary school-age children, including students 10 years old and younger, to receive Class C tickets at school—and data indicates students as young as six have been ticketed. More than 1,000 tickets were issued to elementary school children for a six-year period in those districts for which we have data.
“The history of war planning including war games and simulations directed against Iran is essential to an understanding of recent developments in the Persian Gulf. Active war preparations directed against Iran (with the involvement of Israel and NATO) were initiated in May 2003, one month after the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It should be understood that from the outset of these war preparations, a World War III scenario was envisaged by US war planners.
“The assumption of escalation was embedded in the simulations and the war games. Moreover, the war on Iran was formulated as a “Global Strike” plan involving centralized military decision-making and coordination by US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). A “Concept Plan” entitled CONPLAN 8022 was established in 2003. The operational CONCEPT PLAN (CONPLAN) 8022 is described as “an actual plan that the Navy and the Air Force translate into strike package for their submarines and bombers. …
“Code named by US military planners as TIRANNT, “Theater Iran Near Term” had identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a “Shock and Awe” Blitzkrieg. What distinguishes the TIRANNT simulations in relation to previous (pre-2003) war game scenarios, is that a) they were conducted in the wake of the Iraq war and b) the Blitzkrieg assumptions behind TIRANNT are similar to those used in the intense March 2003 bombing campaign directed against Iraq.
“In other words, the bombing campaign scenarios under TIRANNT are not limited to surgical strikes directed against Iran’s nuclear facilities. They also involve an “invasion scenario”, the deployment of Marines Corps, as well as “the mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change.”
“The assessment of these war games is crucial in evaluating recent developments in the Persian Gulf because it suggests that if an attack on Iran is implemented it will inevitably evolve towards an all out bombing campaign as well as a ground war.
“Confirmed by Arkin, the active component of the Iran military agenda was launched in May 2003 “when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data needed for theater-level (meaning large-scale) scenario analysis for Iran.” (Arkin, op cit). In October 2003, different theater scenarios for an Iran war were contemplated.”
“A World War III scenario has been the object of numerous simulations and war games, going back to the Cold War era. We have no details regarding the geopolitical assumptions underlying the TIRANNT war scenarios, –i.e. regarding analysis of major military actors, alliances, etc. From the available information, the simulations pertained to an all out war (bombing campaign and ground war) directed against Iran, without taking into account possible responses by Iran’s allies, namely China and Russia.
“In 2006, The Pentagon launched another set of war simulations entitled Vigilant Shield 07 (conducted from September through December 2006). These war simulations were not limited to a single Middle East war theater as in the case of TIRANNT (e.g. Iran), they also included Russia, China and North Korea.
“The core assumption behind Vigilant Shield 07 is “Global Warfare”. In the light of recent war preparations directed against Iran, the Road to Conflict in the Vigilant Shield 07 war games should be examined very carefully. They anticipate the “New Cold War”. They reflect US foreign policy and military doctrine during both the Bush and Obama administrations. The declared enemies of America under Vigilant Shield are Irmingham [Iran], Nemazee [North Korea], Ruebek [Russia], Churya [China] …
“A terrorist attack on America is also contemplated in Vigilant Shield 07 based on the assumption that the “axis of evil” “rogue states” are supporting “non-State” terrorist organizations. “
“In order to cut costs, the new budget will thus eliminate positions from the armed forces and initiate changes to the pension and health care plans for military vets. Those changes will help balance the Defense Department’s budget as the Pentagon unveils that it will continue to invest billions in cutting edge weaponry and cyberspace capabilities.
“[T]he US will rely more heavily on an agile, dispersed arsenal of troops and increased surveillance space age weaponry presence.
“Yes, our military will be leaner, but the world must know that the United States will maintain its military superiority,” [Obama] said. Upon addressing the group himself, Defense Secretary Panetta announced that that superiority will come way of relying less on American citizens during wartime and more on reckless killing machines, specifically unmanned aircraft. The move to make shifts in the budget come only days after it was revealed that the US will soon have in its arsenal the USS Gerald R Ford aircraft carrier, which will not only serve as the world’s most expensive battleship ever created — but the most expensive weapon as well at a price tag of $11.5 billion for the single ship.
Obama’s address from the Pentagon’s briefing room Thursday morning marked the first time that any commander-in-chief crossed the Potomac to speak from the Defense Department’s headquarters.
“Pensions and health care plans for US troops will be drastically reduced under a new budget presented by US President Barack Obama on Thursday. Not all aspects of the DoD will be annihilated, however. The DoD will ditch medical benefits for troops but continue to spend on its expensive arsenal of doom. …”
“On a recent trip to West Africa, the newly appointed managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde ordered the governments of Nigeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Ghana and Chad to relinquish vital fuel subsidies. Much to the dismay of the population of these nations, the prices of fuel and transport have near tripled over night without notice, causing widespread violence on the streets of the Nigerian capital of Abuja and its economic center, Lagos. Much like the IMF induced riots in Indonesia during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, public discontent in Nigeria is channelled towards an incompetent and self-serving domestic elite, compliant to the interests of fraudulent foreign institutions.
“Although Nigeria holds the most proven oil reserves in Africa behind Libya, it’s people are now expected to pay a fee closer to what the average American pays for the cost of fuel, an exorbitant sum in contrast to its regional neighbours. Alternatively, other oil producing nations such as Venezuela, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia offer their populations fuel for as little as $0.12 USD per gallon. While Lagos has one of Africa’s highest concentration of billionaires, the vast majority of the population struggle daily on less than $2.00 USD. Amid a staggering 47% youth unemployment rate and thousands of annual deaths related to preventable diseases, the IMF has pulled the rug out from under a nation where safe drinking water is a luxury to around 80% of it’s populace. …
“In the presence of US State Department Officials, employees from The Rand Corporation and Israeli military personnel, a military exercise was undertaken which tested how AFRICOM would respond to a disintegrating Nigeria on the verge of collapse amidst civil war. The scenario envisioned rebel factions vying for control of the Niger Delta oil fields (the source of one of America’s top oil imports), which would potentially be secured by some 20,000 U.S. troops if a US-friendly coup failed to take place At a press conference at the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, AFRICOM Commander, General William Ward then went on to brazenly state the priority issue of America’s growing dependence on African oil would be furthered by AFRICOM operating under the principle theatre-goal of “combating terrorism”.”