Genocidal Realities

The School-to-Prison Pipeline Begins in Pre-School

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


In speaking to the situation facing Black and Latino people in the U.S.—the mass incarceration and school-to-prison pipeline, the criminalization and demonization of a whole generation of youth, the overt or just-below-the-surface racism prevalent in society, etc.—Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party has said what is taking place is a slow genocide that could easily become a fast genocide. This regular feature highlights aspects of this slow genocide.


Black children are 18 percent of students enrolled in public pre-school in the United States but are 42 percent of those suspended. First of all, what the fuck are the schools doing suspending two-, three-, and four-year-olds? Second, this is an early start to shoving these kids into the school-to-prison pipeline.

It begins in pre-school and continues all the way through 12th grade. Nationwide, Black students are 16 percent of the public school population but 32-42 percent of students suspended or expelled. If you are Black and disabled, you are really screwed: 27 percent of Black boys who are also disabled were suspended during the 2011-2012 school year. The rate for Black disabled girls during the same period is one in five.

These figures come from a U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights report published in March. An online comment in response to a New York Times editorial about the report is reactionary but revealing: "Speaking as a taxpayer, I am not interested in funding public schools that give every child a chance to fulfill his or her potential. I am willing to fund public schools to prepare the next generation to participate in the workforce. This is why publicly funded schools exist; because a well-prepared workforce is a common good."

In other words, schools under capitalism-imperialism are about training people to serve the system. When there is no room and no future for a segment of the population in the present-day U.S., then the education system serves to funnel Black and other "undesirable" kids into penitentiaries where they are warehoused and even tortured. The school system has nothing to do with enabling "people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity." That's from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). All those toddlers getting suspended from school need that kind of future, not the future that capitalism-imperialism is preparing for them, and preparing them for.


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