Zero-Tolerance Policies in Schools are Often Destructive, Fueling a School to Prison Pipeline
In 2011, a 13-year-old student in Albuquerque, New Mexico burped audibly in class (perhaps the school lunch didn’t agree with him). His instructor summoned the school resource officer, one of a new generation ofpolice officers and specially trained go-betweens stationed in school environments, and the student found himself booked into a juvenile detention facility. He had fallen victim to his school’s zero-tolerance policy, a framework used across the nation to crack down fast and hard on unwanted behaviors, but one that has resulted in what critics are calling a school-to-prison pipeline, as students are fast-tracked to juvenile courts for offenses like writing their names on desks.
It’s a pipeline that consumes some students more than others; students of color and disabled students are being suspended, expelled, and sent into the justice system at much higher rates than their white, nondisabled counterparts.
Orwell foresaw a dystopian society controlled by a "Big Brother" power structure that closely keeps track of individuals so the ruling party's authorities can pounce on those who stray from what is considered proper behavior, using data in a registry to crush anyone who opposes the police state.
Supporters of HB 150 point out that people who are arrested, but not convicted, must be fingerprinted, and DNA samples are the same thing, on principle. That, unfortunately, is not very comforting to those of us familiar with what happened in western New York some years ago.
Troopers there were accused of planting fingerprint evidence as a way to win criminal convictions in dozens of cases. Several, including a lieutenant who ran a criminal identification unit, were charged with crimes and some went to prison.
Planting fingerprint evidence is difficult, but a few years ago, scientists in Israel conducted a study demonstrating that planting DNA evidence would be easy. "You can just engineer a crime scene," said one scientist. All you need is a DNA sample.
Government snooping of libraries has a long history. Under the Patriot Act, for example, the FBI has the power to compel libraries to hand over user data.
But the activities of the NSA seem to go far beyond traditional police work, reflecting an “almost ravenous hunger” for collecting information, according to Lynne Bradley, director of the ALA’s Office of Government Relations.
Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the NSA has been collecting vast troves of “metadata” on Internet activity and phone calls that shows when communications were made, who was involved and how long it lasted.
That’s especially troubling to the ALA, as “libraries are all about metadata,” Inouye said.
The records that libraries keep — when a user logs on to a library computer, what websites they visit, when books are borrowed and returned — seem to fit the mold of what the NSA is seeking.
“We’re talking about the information patterns of people. If that’s not personal, I don’t know what is,” Inouye said.
While no libraries are known to have received NSA requests, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been tapped for data.
Just like Internet companies, libraries are prohibited from revealing NSA requests. The ALA is concerned that local libraries are being forced to keep quiet about government snooping.
“We don’t know what we don’t know,” Bradley said.
Your phone could be on Airplane mode. And you could hold it for only two seconds. And you would be breaking the law.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario over the weekend ruled that it is illegal to hold a cellphone while driving regardless of whether it is transmitting or how long it is in a driver's hand.
The decision came following two rulings where drivers attemped to avoid punishment through current loopholes of laws. Quoth The Globe and Mail:
In one case, Khojasteh Kazemi argued that she had just picked up her cellphone, which had fallen off the seat to the floor of her car when she stopped at a red light, when a police officer spotted her holding it. A lower court judge dismissed Kazemi’s charge, ruling that there must be some “sustained physical holding” in order to convict, but the Appeal Court overturned that finding.
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