Education and Juvenile Justice Reform – Keeping Kids in School Keeps Kids Out of Trouble
Keeping Kids in School Keeps Kids Out of Trouble – Juvenile Justice Reform Now!
The current juvenile justice system in Georgia is outdated, ineffective, and quick to push youth into the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Many students are being pushed out of school because of overly harsh disciplinary policies for even minor infractions. In addition, many struggling students are not receiving the extra help they need because of mounting pressure on schools to improve tests scores. These factors have contributed to an unnecessary number of youth being placed in the juvenile justice system. And despite the “Model Minority” myth, Asian American youth are among those at risk.
- Asian immigrant youth that are Limited English Proficient are at high risk for educational failure. Georgia’s Asian American population is increasing faster than the services to provide for their needs. For many Asian immigrant students, schools are ill-equipped to provide adequate bilingual teachers or English as a Second Language programs. This is a serious issue because approximately a quarter of all Asian American youth are Limited English Proficient. Compared with their English-proficient peers, Limited English Proficient students are twice as likely to drop out of school. We must advocate for better educational services and for an equal chance at success for newly-arrived immigrant youth.
- Keeping kids in school is the key to public safety. There is a strong correlation between a child’s lack of education and getting caught in the juvenile system and later adult prison. In fact, high school dropouts are 63 times more likely to be incarcerated than college graduates. Given the high drop-out rate of Limited English Proficient teens and the special challenges facing several Southeast Asian groups, Georgia will also experience a rise in incarcerated Asian youth and adults if we don’t reform our laws now.
- The current juvenile system doesn’t work. Research has consistently shown that mass incarceration of troubled adolescents does NOT work. Policies that push students out of school and into the juvenile system for non-criminal offenses will only increase their chances of future unlawful conduct. According to a recent study, youth incarcerated as a juvenile were 3 times more likely to enter adult prison later in life compared to those who were not incarcerated. The best way to have more productive, law-abiding adults is to help kids stay in school and get a good education.
- Parents need to get involved! Parents are the best advocates for their child’s future. Studies show that parents who get involved in their child’s overall education help increase that child’s academic success. The American education system assumes parents will be involved, and Asian parents cannot expect the school to take care of everything. Even though the English language or cultural differences may be challenging, your child’s future is too important not to ask for a translator or seek your community’s support. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help.
Reforming Georgia’s current juvenile justice laws is a step toward helping our children. We should prohibit using juvenile jails and prisons for children who have not committed a crime, promote accountability in court hearings, and protect millions of dollars in federal funding.
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