In this critical, conceptual essay, the author argues that the School-to-Prison Pipeline (“STPP”) simply does not exist. Long before Columbine and the enactment of zero tolerance, caregivers have been wrongly harming their children, something causing them toxic stress that triggers their stress-response system, and making it nigh impossible for children easily ensnared by suspensions, expulsions, referrals to alternative schools, and SRO arrests to have the best developmental start and cognitive abilities to succeed in public schools. Further, teachers and administrators who are pressured to report great educational metrics, and for their own childhood reasons have a near inflexible need to enforce the strictest obedience rules. These elements overwhelmingly contribute to the rate at which children fall prey to the so-called STPP. But the real point is that teachers, administrators, and zero tolerance policies do not toss these children before juvenile court judges or eventually in front of criminal court judges. It is the brain structure on which these children are relying to understand and navigate their worlds that led them to externalizing behavior and criminal conduct, all of which flows from their earliest dysfunctional relationships with their well-meaning but antisocially conflicted caregivers. In this way, it is a caregiver-to-prison pipeline problem.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.