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Podcast: Schools or Prisons?

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In some neighborhoods, public schools feel more like prisons than schools. In this episode, former social worker and attorney Helen Higginbotham discusses the policing of children in schools with BLACK AND CUBA director Robin J. Hayes.

Written/Directed/Produced by:
Ariana Arancibia
Phyllis Ellington
Echo Sutterfield

Executive Produced by:
Dr. Robin J. Hayes

Recorded in New York City at TNS_Logo1_Small_RGB

4 thoughts on “Podcast: Schools or Prisons?

  1. Surprise, surprise: Growing up in Essex county, New Jersey I saw first hand how generation after generation was played by the powers to be at the time in the state of New Jersey! Little did I know this same game of short changing the Black and Brown residents was going on throughout America! Coast to coast the inner cities were being short changed or destroyed for the suburban growth and development that was going on in post WWII america!
    So 50 to 60 years later anyone that is surprised is in need of a history lesson as oppose to thinking that found a new reason to bitch and moan about the obvious racial discrimination that has always been alive and well in the American school and prison system!
    Sad but true the same political policy people thought up both systems as a way to stifle the growth and development of a segmented group in the county labeled minorities!
    Watch how their treatment of minorities change after 2045: when they become the minority in America!
    Take care

  2. I found this podcast very insightful and considering all view points. It articulated thoughts and ideas around police in schools that I’ve struggled to bring together and express. From my days in high school, I remember out of school suspension and the principal’s office was not scary to my classmates, but I heard in-school suspension was dreadful. I would agree that some of the problems in schools are due to lack of “home training” which can be attributable to parents not being authoritative figures in their children’s lives. This phrase is spot on and how I would describe many situations I saw in my school days.

  3. It is sad that the society is blaming and criminalizing students whereas people do not pay enough attention to children in school. When teachers are fear of students, they lose the power of supervising the students. The only thing they can do is to make the school like a prison to “effectively” manage the students. Parents, apparently, according to this podcast, provide enough support to neither the children nor the school. I guess it is because adults in marginalized and low-income families are occupied by work, so they do not have time to take care of their children. Students, on the other hand, should not be blamed since they are a lack of proper education when they need it the most. Instead of making the students feel like prisoners, public schools should try harder on educating properly, as well as gather more care from the society to solve the criminalizing problem.

  4. Engagement when parenting is a challenge and this struggle is evident in the United States public school system. This podcast, Schools or Prisons?, begins to discuss this consideration, amongst others, when addressing the concern as to why many schools in marginalized communities are more like prisons as opposed to school.

    Having raised three children in a diverse community in northern New Jersey, who did attend public schools, I can relate to Ms. Higginbotham’s frustrations when she describes how a disciplinary action is no longer dreaded amongst students. It is the sense of empowerment the students have over the teachers, she notes, that creates the need for a stricter, more enforceable management system of discipline within schools.

    What is particularly concerning is that the resolution, or the attempt to resolve, does not appear to be happening. From my experience, it was the children from families whose parents were overburden with the struggles of economic survival, who also did not have community support in raising their children, that were most likely to be disciplinary problems at school. Ms. Higginbotham’s commentary in this podcast confirms this perception. In fact, “engagement” was a word that Ms. Higginbotham used to describe what is absent and I could not agree more.

    Yet, regrettably within communities, marginalized or not, this is where the conversation stalls and I struggle to understand why. How do communities create an engaged community? Has the United States evolved into such a competitive society that empathy to raising children became forfeited for the need to survive economically? As I reflect on my years as a parent of public school children, I question if I contributed to creating an engaged community or did not. This podcast has provided me with more questions than answers. Clearly, the conversation needs to continue.

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