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Reactions to food fight arrests.

November 12, 2009

The arrest of 25 children at Chicago’s Perspectives charter school has touched off a lively discussion of the trend towards criminalizing childhood behaviors, particularly directed at minority youth.

Now, these kids are in “the system.” Whenever they fill out a job or college application they’ll have to state that they were arrested. It’s this stain on their records that has Perspective Charter school parents mad and poised to take action. Black Voices

Sorry, but treating major violations and minor infractions the same way defies common sense and logic.  That same zero tolerance didn’t stop Derrion Albert from getting beaten to death near his school. Black Political Thought

We remember when students were just sent giggling to the principal’s office. But apparently, now some fries in the sky will earn a trip to the police station. Who knew handcuffs came in an 11-year-old’s size? Snardfarker

I also wonder whether the race of the students played a role in the police reaction – the charter school where the incident occurred is primarily comprised of African-American students. Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but I keep thinking about the scene in the movie “Animal House” where a food fight involving white students is portrayed as exuberant fun. (Without too much effort, I also found this pretty funny clip of Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin staging an elaborate pie fight.) Rachel Norton

Last year Perspectives Charter Schools collected over $14 million from the State of Illinois and another million from Bill Gates to create this its own version of penal pedagogy in Calumet. This incident gives a whole new meaning to “a disciplined life.” Schools Matter

Thus, it’s important for us to arrest these children who, even having matriculated in good charter schools and trying to do better for themselves, start simple things like food fights. America is preparing them for their futures. Some children’s futures are bright as the sun, shining down on them. Some might call these futures “locked up.” These children’s lives will learn the definition of locked-up a whole lot differently: emotionally and politically. Jose Vilson

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