Policing School Discipline
Catherine Y. Kim
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law
March 25, 2012
Brooklyn Law Review, Vol. 77, No. 3
UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2037579
Courts routinely defer to school officials in cases involving the investigation and punishment of youth. Youth accused of school misconduct are not entitled to the same procedural protections to which they would be entitled outside the school context. Such restrictions have been defended on the ground that school discipline, unlike law enforcement, serves the educational interests of youth.
However, recent observations of a “school-to-prison pipeline” resulting in the increased criminalization of student misbehavior cast doubt on this characterization of school discipline. This article evaluates empirical evidence on contemporary discipline practices and the extent to which they advance the educational interests of youth. It argues that courts should take into account the changed circumstances surrounding school discipline and modify the procedural protections available to youth in public schools accordingly. It proposes a context-specific framework for courts to do so and then explores the possibly critical role of non-judicial actors in meaningful reform.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Date posted: April 10, 2012