The Ranger: “In the 2006, high school freshman Shaquanda Cotton, from Paris, Texas, briefly made national headlines for being convicted in juvenile court for assaulting a public servant.
Cotton tried to get on campus early to get her medication from the school nurse and was involved in an altercation with a teacher’s aide.
She received an indeterminate sentence for disruptive behavior and was sent to a Texas Youth Commission facility. An indeterminate sentence means there is no fixed term. She could have served until she was 21, but she served one year and was released because of good behavior.
Cotton’s situation is one of the examples Dr. Bill Bush presented Thursday in a lecture sponsored by the college’s Honors Academy, “The ‘School to Prison Pipeline’: Where Did it Come From?” to an audience of about 35 students and faculty.
Students from the social science, criminal justice and history programs attended.
Bush is a history professor and history and social sciences chair at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
The phrase “school to prison pipeline” is known to professionals who work with adolescents.
Over the last 20 years, juvenile justice policy changes have created a situation for concern because students are being fast-tracked out of public education and into the criminal justice system, Bush said.
Bush suggested the “school to prison pipeline” has a particular racial and ethnic component that disproportionately affects non-white students and students with disabilities.
“What you see is a contested terrain in juvenile justice,” he said.
His reference to Cotton, a minority student diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, supports this.”
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