‘Nobody wants to incarcerate a kid. That’s insane.’ | AspenTimes.com

‘Nobody wants to incarcerate a kid. That’s insane.’

Dear Mr. Mulberry, did you mean to say, “Nobody wants to incarcerate a WHITE kid. That’s insane.”? (“Cops in Aspen schools under scrutiny” June 23, 2020) Because last I checked there are many students of color being ushered from school to prison. This troubling trend is described by the NAACP, “This funneling of students out of school and into the streets and the juvenile correction system, perpetuates a cycle known as the ‘School-to-Prison Pipeline,’ depriving children and youth of meaningful opportunities for education, future employment and participation in our democracy.” Students of color are affected at a rate three-and-a-half times higher than their white peers due to disciplinary actions in schools.

While this might not be something we see very much here in Aspen, to make a statement of its insanity shows a lack of effort to understand the experience of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students, in our schools, our community and our country.

A step toward this understanding could be displayed in an admittance of our own privilege. As a white Aspen high School graduate I will give my comment as an example: “As a white student at AHS I felt that the SROs were not threatening to me or my white peers. I can’t speak for my BIPOC peers, who suffer the most at the hands of the police, but I want school to be a safe place specifically for the students who are most marginalized in our society. Their voices are the ones that matter the most in this conversation.”

I’m glad to hear our leaders are willing to have more conversations about this. I hope we can make an effort to have more well informed discussions, while highlighting the voices of the BIPOC students and their families in our valley and country.

Kari Throm

Snowmass Village