On one front, two kids have the ability to mend divisions. This is especially important in areas such as Chicago or Detroit where gang affiliation starts early in a child’s life and often limits their future. Realistically, schoolyard problems can become the kind of heated and intensely violent affairs which warrant a response from police rather than the school principal.

Retributive justice, which surely makes us feel better when we’re the victims of the crime, does little to correct the situation in aggregate. The problem between one or more children still exists. No bonds have been created. And children can’t be imprisoned for spitballs and wedgies, which leaves educators with limited options like expulsion, or kicking the child out of school.

A majority of programs in urban areas, which seek to reduce gang crime, and keep children safe, often include after school programs which unfortunately have been cut with many localities under fiscal distress. The objective is to keep children in school. So why are so many policies directed at children kicking them out of school?

Education policy and criminal policy are linked. More educated people tend not to rely on criminality. They make for a better society overall.

In our efforts to protect school children from the kind of bullying that has led to highly publicized suicides, we have taken on a rather wrongheaded “tough on crime” approach that does not teach perpetrators not to harm other children emotionally or physically – but rather informs them that the next time they do so it should be outside of the watchful eye of teachers and school officials.

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