Sarah Sparks at Education Week posted an article today about a study presented at the American Sociological Association showing that schools with more minority students are more likely to be subject to security measures developed in the criminal justice field, like metal detectors, drug sniffing dogs and full time security officers than other students, regardless of whether their neighborhoods are actually more dangerous.
The article notes that while schools think these measures are helpful, some research casts doubts on whether schools that take these measures are really any safer.
Finally, Sparks discusses City Springs Elementary-Middle School in Baltimore as "one example of an inner-city school that is trying to take a more holistic violence-prevention approach." She interviews principal Rhonda Richetta who presented at IIRP's Summer Symposium: Turning the Tide – see last week's eForum article here.
Sparks notes, "In the years since [Richetta implemented IIRP's Safer Saner Schools Whole School Change program], City Springs’ climate has changed, Ms. Richetta said. Yearly suspensions are down from 86 in 2008-09 to 10 or fewer in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Fights on campus have become 'nonexistent,' the principal said..."
That phrase "holistic violence-prevention approach" seems to get at the real difference between solutions like security measures and "zero-tolerance," which attempt to attack symptoms. Instead restorative approaches look at the whole community, addressing symptoms as a manifestation of an entire system's behavior.