The (Toledo) Blade, May 19
School suspensions and expulsions often lead to students' idleness, falling back, and dropping out. It's no surprise that nearly 80 percent of prisoners list truancy as their first offense, the U.S. Department of Justice reports.
So-called zero tolerance policies, which became popular in the 1990s, have led to more police and security officers in schools. Without policy changes, including early and consistent intervention, school infractions such as disorderly conduct and fighting will lead to excessive time away from school, criminal records, and an insidious school-to-prison pipeline.
In Toledo and across the country, black students are three times more likely than whites to be suspended or expelled. To alleviate the problem, the U.S. Department of Education issued recommendations this year, such as dropping hyper-zealous school discipline policies and ensuring that teachers and other school personnel are trained to resolve conflicts and cool classroom disruptions....
To their credit, school districts have become increasingly aware of the problem. They have adjusted discipline policies and practices that have disproportionately affected African-American students and other children of color. And they're getting results....
Here and around the country, zero-tolerance policies have hindered the education and prospects of many students, especially those of children of color. New disciplinary policies that aim to resolve problems while keeping young people in school are changing that trend.
But it can't change fast enough to save children with enormous potential to contribute to society from wasting it in the school-to-prison pipeline.
The Ironton Tribune, May 13
It's a sad reality, but the truth is, many people who succumb to the temptation of drugs never find their way back to sobriety.
Addiction is a slippery slope that can alienate a person from their family and friends, cause serious health problems and even lead to a life of crime and possibly death.
In Lawrence County, a week doesn't go by where more than a few people appear before judges to answer for crimes committed either directly or indirectly related to drug abuse.
Last week, a South Point woman who had been given the ultimate second chance proved that people who really want to change, can change....
Treatment in lieu of conviction essentially means a defendant is given the opportunity to complete drug treatment programs rather than be sent to prison. If the programs are successfully completed, the judge will find the defendant not guilty of the crime. It's an opportunity very few defendants are given.
Thankfully, this particular woman found the strength within herself to get the help she needed and is on her way to becoming and remaining a productive member of the community.
Sometimes people make mistakes and deserve a second chance. Although some people squander that second chance, some choose to take full advantage of the opportunity to succeed.
As sensational as a news story about drug crimes can be, it is much better news that defendants are given the help they need and even better when they succeed.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.