School-to-Prison Pipeline’ discussed by panel at UMass

The panel is called "Over-Policed and Under-Educated: The School-to-Prison Pipeline from Multiple Perspectives"

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Students at UMass Amherst learned how there is still racial injustice at schools across the country, a phenomenon referred to as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

The term refers to minority students being underserved academically, and over-surveilled by police at school.

Tuesday, a panel described how this unbalanced school environment is getting minority students in trouble with the law. One of the panelists was Niya Kenny. She was arrested in 2015 in South Carolina for confronting a school resource officer, who flipped a black female classmate over in her desk and dragged her across the room.

Kenny was charged as an adult for disturbing a school. The officer was not charged.

Kenny told 22News why she brought her story to education students at UMass.

“Get to know your students, get to know what is going on in their lives, what is going on at home, because once you can start understanding your student, you can start understanding what’s affecting their performance in the classroom,” Kenny said.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 1,000 South Carolina students face criminal charges every year for not following directions, cursing, or loitering. If they are tried as adults, they can be held in jail for up to 90 days.