Collateral consequences of the school-to-prison pipeline: Adolescent substance use and developmental risk
Nov 4, 2022
It is well known that there are serious health consequences associated with exclusionary school discipline policies. A research paper has recently been published in the “Addictive Behaviours” journal titled “Collateral consequences of the school-to-prison pipeline: Adolescent substance use and developmental risk”. This research report looked at data on 4,950,000 school students from more than 4,800 schools in California and used data linkage to see the links between student health outcomes and school disciplinary approaches. The schools with the highest prevalence of disciplinary measures like suspensions and exclusions predicted higher levels of substance use and lower levels of school support and students feeling safe in school. This effect remained even when controlling for confounders such as average income levels. This important research is a stark demonstration of something we have known for a long time. Exclusionary discipline in schools likely produces the conditions that significantly increase the risk of substance use and subsequent mental health problems.