In South Carolina, you don’t just get your name on the board for disrupting class anymore. A recent study in South Carolina on children’s health and well-being in the state’s schools shows how some students are now incarcerated for disturbing school. Charleston County School Board member Elizabeth Moffly explains the results of the study–
What the study found was that in DJJ, the most juveniles that are incarcerated are for non-violent crimes, and the number one reason they are incarcerated is for disrupting the learning environment for non-violent offenses.
Juvenile crime is down in the state, but the number of students entering the judicial system is up.
Moffly says this is an escalating problem, especially since the state’s schools have increased the presence of resource officers inside of the schools.
Not only that, we are loading them up with surveillance cameras as well. You know what they say: It’s not too much freedom that causes people problems, it’s lack of freedom that creates problems, and it is a problem that we’ve got.
A panel known as “Juvenile Justice: Schools as Pipelines to Prison,” made up of Department of Juvenile Justice Director Bill Byars, and five other judicial officials, met last Friday to discuss the state’s system. The “disturbing schools law” was meant to keep students safer in the schools, but instead, Moffly says it is crowding the state’s juvenile detention centers.
Self-defense is a punishable offense. So, if you wanna talk about democracy when we are supposed to be about democracy, about teaching our students how to protect the rights that were guaranteed to us under the Constitution, but yet we do not allow the practice thereof, there is a problem.
DJJ Director Byars told the Post and Courier that incarcerating these young people costs about $100,000 a year when other measures could be taken. He says the state could resort to intensive supervision and mental health services.