Baltimore City Schools Is “Thrusting Children Into The School-To-Prison Pipeline,” Education Advocate Says

What’s happening?

Instead of sending trained mental health professionals, Baltimore City Schools sometimes sends police officers to students’ homes when they fear youth may present a danger to themselves, according to Baltimore City Councilperson Ryan Dorsey.

How does the school know students may be in danger? 

School officials use a platform called GoGuardian to monitor students’ school-administered Chromebooks for keywords that illustrate possible self-harm. “In cases where the student is not in school and contact cannot be made, wellness checks are conducted by school police and follow up with school-based clinicians,” according to André Riley, the Director of Communications for Baltimore City Public Schools. 

This surveillance presents an added layer of danger, says Khalilah Harris, acting Vice President for K-12 Education Policy at the Center for American Progress. “It is unconscionable for any school district to be surveilling their students through technology meant for schoolwork. Likewise, no school district should be inviting police to show up at the homes of their students, and particularly students experiencing mental health crises,” Harris told The Real News Network. “Thrusting children into the school-to-prison pipeline who need medical care is a disgrace.”

Anything else I should know? 

While employees of Baltimore’s city-run agencies have to complete trauma-informed care training, among other mandates, per the Healing City Act, Baltimore City Schools is exempt as it is an independent state agency, according to Baltimore Teachers Union Vice President Zach Taylor. 

You can learn more here.


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