Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

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Preface

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pp. ix-x

I shudder when I think back to my experiences in high school. Like many other adolescents, I was awkward and insecure, trying to fit in while figuring out who I was and what kind of adult I wanted to be. Even though I grew up in a middle-class suburban community and was sheltered from serious life problems like poverty and violence, ...

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Acknowledgements

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pp. xi-xii

I received a great deal of help with this book. Most important, I want to thank Nicole L. Bracy and Olivia Salcido for their tremendous assistance. While graduate students at the University of Delaware and Arizona State University, respectively, each spent hundreds of hours collecting data through observations and interviews. ...

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Introduction: Too Much Discipline

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pp. 1-12

I wrote this field note about Albert while doing research for a previous book about prosecuting youth in juvenile and criminal courts; his case led me to be curious about school discipline and security. Of course, any child who threatens violence, especially life-threatening violence on such a large scale, should be reprimanded ...

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1 A New Regime

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pp. 13-41

This is the new homeroom security. Public schools today look very different than those of just a generation ago; they have undergone a host of changes over the past fifteen years as concerns about security and safety have permeated American consciousness. These changes have been twofold: first, schools have ratcheted up ...

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2 Protecting Our Children: Discipline Practices at School

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pp. 42-77

This bleak description of schools in East St. Louis, Illinois, a poor area in which most of the residents are African Americans, comes from Jonathan Kozol’s book Savage Inequalities.2 In other passages he describes schools in wealthier areas that have all the supplies they need and are in excellent physical condition. ...

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3 A Blue Line on the Chalkboard: Police Presence in Schools

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pp. 78-116

Biko’s story is told in a report recently published by the New York Civil Liberties Union.1 The report describes the growth in numbers of police officers and school safety agents (who are under the control of the New York City Police Department) in New York City public schools, and tells several stories— like Biko’s ...

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4 Teaching to the Rules

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pp. 117-158

This conversation between Jade, a black female freshman at Centerville High, and Mr. Wade, a black interventionist, illustrates an important dynamic I observed regularly at each school: that following school rules and reinforcing the school’s authority are themselves the primary achievement of school discipline, ...

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5 Unequal Discipline

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pp. 159-192

A mountain of prior research demonstrates that youth of color, especially African Americans, are more likely than white youth to be punished in schools, and that working-class and lower-class youth are subject to harsher punishments than middle-class youth. What is less clear is why this is the case, and whether poor ...

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Conclusion: Undoing the Harm

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pp. 193-219

This example of arresting a student for planning (but not actually engaging in) a food fight may seem over the top, but it is consistent with what I have described throughout this book: that schools have overreacted to potential threats so that students are at risk of arrest and harsh school punishment, strategies that do not address ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 220-222

Though I have not had much contact with staff at the southwestern schools, I have been in touch with some of my contacts at the midatlantic schools, Unionville High and Centerville High. In particular, I have spoken several times with the police officer at Centerville High. Recently he described to me how arrests there ...

Appendix: Research Methods and Analysis

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pp. 223-234

Notes

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pp. 235-256

Index

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pp. 257-260

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About the Author

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p. 261

Aaron Kupchik is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware, and author of Judging Juveniles: Prosecuting Adolescents in Adult and Juvenile Courts, ...