Published at AlterNet, August 2012.
Increasingly, young people in America are getting caught in the collision of “zero tolerance” laws and growing concerns about school safety – and paying an irrationally high price for it. A series of school shootings and threats in the 1990s, including the Columbine massacre in 1999, radically changed the concept of “school safety” in the United States, and as administrators and law enforcement officers determined that campuses were no longer safe places, a new, more militarized approach to monitoring schools began to take hold. It may be hard to recall but this wasn’t always so; 40 years ago, it was sometimes difficult to get police to arrive on campus at all. Now, they are everywhere.