Police in the Hallways: Discipline in an Urban High School

Police in the Hallways: Discipline in an Urban High School

by Kathleen Nolan, Paul Willis
     
 

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As zero-tolerance discipline policies have been instituted at high schools across the country, police officers are employed with increasing frequency to enforce behavior codes and maintain order, primarily at poorly performing, racially segregated urban schools. Actions that may once have sent students to the detention hall or resulted in their suspension may now

Overview

As zero-tolerance discipline policies have been instituted at high schools across the country, police officers are employed with increasing frequency to enforce behavior codes and maintain order, primarily at poorly performing, racially segregated urban schools. Actions that may once have sent students to the detention hall or resulted in their suspension may now introduce them to the criminal justice system. In Police in the Hallways, Kathleen Nolan explores the impact of policing and punitive disciplinary policies on the students and their educational experience.

Through in-depth interviews with and observations of students, teachers, administrators, and police officers, Nolan offers a rich and nuanced account of daily life at a Bronx high school where police patrol the hallways and security and discipline fall under the jurisdiction of the NYPD. She documents how, as law enforcement officials initiate confrontations with students, small infractions often escalate into “police matters” that can lead to summonses to criminal court, arrest, and confinement in juvenile detention centers.

Nolan follows students from the classroom and the cafeteria to the detention hall, the dean’s office, and the criminal court system, clarifying the increasingly intimate relations between the school and the criminal justice system. Placing this trend within the context of recent social and economic changes, as well as developments within criminal justice and urban school reform, she shows how this police presence has created a culture of control in which penal management overshadows educational innovation.

Police in the Hallways also examines the prevalent forms of oppositional behavior through which students express their frustrations and their deep sense of exclusion. With compassion and clear-eyed analysis, Nolan sounds a warning about this alarming convergence of prison and school cultures and the negative impact that it has on the real lives of low-income students of color—and, in turn, on us all.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Police in the Hallways presents a detailed ethnographic analysis of the ways in which discipline policies in New York schools have influenced the education and social experience of young people in so-called impact schools. Kathleen Nolan uncovers the complexity of the issues and exposes the unfairness of the policies in a subtle yet compelling manner." —Pedro Noguera, author of The Trouble With Black Boys and Other Reflections on Race, Equity and the Future of Public Education

"Anyone interested in education in American should definitely take this sobering journey into life in an urban high school." —Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816675531
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
06/30/2011
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Nolan works in the Teacher Preparation Program and is a lecturer at Princeton University. She teaches seminars related to urban education.

Paul Willis is professor of sociology at Princeton University.

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