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Since the shootings at Columbine High School a decade ago, hysteria has distorted the media’s coverage of school violence. This climate of fear has created ripe conditions for the imposition of unprecedented restrictions on young people’s rights, dignity and educational freedoms. In what many call the school-to-prison pipeline, the policing and practices of the juvenile justice system increasingly infiltrate the schoolhouse. The resultant “Zero tolerance” measures push the most vulnerable and academically needy ...
Since the shootings at Columbine High School a decade ago, hysteria has distorted the media’s coverage of school violence. This climate of fear has created ripe conditions for the imposition of unprecedented restrictions on young people’s rights, dignity and educational freedoms. In what many call the school-to-prison pipeline, the policing and practices of the juvenile justice system increasingly infiltrate the schoolhouse. The resultant “Zero tolerance” measures push the most vulnerable and academically needy students out of the classroom and into harm’s way. Investigative reporter Annette Fuentes visits schools across America and finds metal detectors and drug tests for aspirin, police profiling of students with no records, arbitrary expulsions, teachers carrying guns, increased policing and all-seeing electronic surveillance. She also reveals the many industries and “experts”
who have vested interests in perpetuating the Lockdown High model. Her moving stories will astonish and anger readers, as she makes the case that the public schools of the twenty-first century reflect a society with an unhealthy fixation on crime, security and violence.
“[A] well-argued book ... packed with the anecdotally eye-catching and hard, persuasive data. Fuentes’s detailed and daunting investigation ... is a wakeup call.”—Publishers Weekly
“Examples of zero-tolerance policies taken to absurd levels are attention-grabbing, but the real story, spelled out [in Lockdown High] with clarity and a touch of anger, is a disturbing one that should concern members of school boards, principals, teachers and parents.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[A] chilling report ... extremely well-written.”—Library Journal
“Lockdown High is a wake up call for Americans who care about how schools treat children and young people ... This book is a must read for school boards, school administrators and parents.”—Rodney Skager
“Fuentes’ style is smart and accessible, her material both revelatory and relevant—it’s not only parents who will stay up late reading Lockdown High, but anyone interested in where we are headed.”—Nell Bernstein
“Lockdown High is a widely accessible overview of the trends in school discipline, surveillance, and policing. As such, Fuentes brings research in the education world to a broad audience and thereby widens the awareness of and potential resistance to the lockdown model.”—Rachel Garver, Teachers College Record
An investigative reporter looks at American public schools and finds that excessively harsh discipline policies are criminalizing student behavior and establishing a school-to-prison pipeline that unfairly targets minorities.
Bay Citizen online editor Fuentes writes that the zero-tolerance policy had its origins in the White House's war on drugs in the 1980s and was given a boost in 1994 by the Gun Free Schools Act and in 2001 by the No Child Left Behind Act. The latter's sanctions against schools that do not demonstrate achievement through standardized testing has led to charges that school authorities are suspending and expelling students who test poorly. The 1999 Columbine shootings heightened the public's perception of the risks of violence inside schools, and many states and localities responded with high-tech security measures and surveillance systems. The author charges that technologies designed for military and prison uses, such as fingerprinting, have found their way into schools with little understanding of their need, effectiveness or impact on students. Fuentes also looks at the practice of student drug testing, the arguments of those in favor of testing as a deterrent and the questions being asked by those who question its value. She takes a dim view of those profiting from zero-tolerance policies: ex-cops who become school safety consultants, manufacturers of surveillance and drug-testing equipment and certain companies running alternative schools for students suspended from regular public schools for behavioral problems. There is a movement afoot, Fuentes writes in her final chapter, to oppose the trend toward heavy policing of schools, and she reports on the measures being taken in school districts in New Orleans, Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York as they look for other ways of handling discipline and promoting positive behavior.
Examples of zero-tolerance policies taken to absurd levels are attention-grabbing, but the real story, spelled out here with clarity and a touch of anger, is a disturbing one that should concern members of school boards, principals, teachers and parents.
Posted January 9, 2012
Annette Fuentes combines common sense, solid reasoning, and empirical research to support her premises. Her writing style is scholarly yet easy to read and comprehend. The book is both entertaining and informative. Every school official, law enforcement officer, and parent should read Lockdown High and advocate for implementation of the common-sense policies Fuentes promotes. Lockdown High helps dispel much of the misinformation and hysteria in our culture regarding school violence.
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