The study provides a total racial breakdown on arrests in 2012: That year, 3,240 black students were arrested, along with 889 Latinos, and 136 white students. What’s more, the numbers of arrests varied hugely from district to district, with one district, the eighth, accounting for a total of 461 arrests.
These statistics add to the growing evidence that the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline” — a phenomenon in which students are funneled into the criminal justice system for mere disciplinary violations — can have disproportionate racial impacts. Similar complaints have arisen in other schools across the country. In Mississippi, children were sometimes arrested and locked up for for infractions as minor as violating the dress code, with black and disabled students experiencing a disproportionate share of the draconian punishment.
But in this study, the information is particularly troubling, as the situation can only get worse for Chicago’s youth. Last month, the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, announced the closure of 49 city schools, primarily in poverty-stricken districts where crime rates are higher to begin with.