JACKSON, Miss. – “Handcuffs on Success” is the name of a new study released by the ACLU, NAACP, and the Advancement Project. It highlights the overuse of disciplinary actions in schools including, zero tolerance policies, suspension, and referral to law enforcement for minor matters.
“We get reports that nine-year-old girls handcuffed and taken away for, quote, acting up,” said Derrick Johnson, President of the Mississippi NAACP.
In Mississippi, the suspension rate is twice as high as the suspension rate for the nation and in some counties that number is almost 17 times as high as the national rate. The report also showed that black students are three times more likely to have harsh disciplinary actions taken against them than white students.
“Our harshest disciplinary policies result in lower student achievement, and are cross purposes for our educators’ ability to teach students in safe learning conducive environments,” said Bear Atwood with the Mississippi ACLU.
Atwood says the study shows that harsh policies cause resentment in students and antagonism toward schools and law enforcement.
“The impact of the that zero tolerance policies, and the overuse of arrests, detentions, and expulsions is serious on our students ability to learn. Its serious on their ability to graduate high school.”
Mississippi is 48th in the nation for graduation rates.