Policymakers and community leaders have started to question traditional forms of school discipline like detention, suspension and expulsion because research shows that children who are suspended are more likely to drop out of school and end up in jail. And what’s more, children who are racial minorities are more likely to be suspended and expelled than their white classmates.
Some districts are ending out-of-school suspensions all together in favor of policies that consider why children are acting out and help correct misbehavior. But when a school lacks resources it may be hard to replace traditional school discipline with sensible alternatives.
Eli Hager visited a part of the country that is known for widespread poverty and troubled schools. Mississippi is one of the four states where some schools still use corporal punishment to keep kids in line. Hager recently wrote an article for the Marshall Project is called “When School Feels Like Jail.” For this week’s podcast, he spoke with ARW associate producer Suzanne Pekow.