St. Paul Youth Services

On Wednesday February 10, St. Paul Youth Services (SPYS) hosted an event at the Sun Ray library for finding the next St. Paul Police chief. Mayor Chris Coleman and City Council member Russ Stark attended. SPYS wanted to hear youth voices on how the police affect our community.


photo courtesy of NPR

We talked about how police officers influence our everyday lives. You can find a police officer in most SPPS high schools. At Highland Park Senior High School we have Officer Hull. In a country that has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, does our discipline on teens have to be linked to police officers?

The school to prison pipeline has been a growing topic in the media. The school to prison pipeline is a term that refers to pushing at risk schoolchildren, who are predominantly people of color, into the criminal justice system. There have been studies that have shown the link between students that are suspended to their committing future law violations.

What is most disappointing is how small the ethnic population is in Minnesota schools, compared to their suspension and high school drop out rates. For example, nearly 60% of suspensions in Minnesota were from black, Asian, Native American, and Hispanic students, but they only make up a quarter of the population of the schools. 

SPYS is trying to help us learn that the school to prison pipeline is a real and urgent issue. We should be using our law enforcement to help and protect youth instead of making it difficult to get an education.

St Paul Youth Services was founded in 1973, and provides many services, including the Pre-Court Diversion Program, which helps young adults that committed petty theft offenses like shoplifting and curfew violation have other alternatives to help them stay out of the criminal justice system. Another service they provide to young adults is the Ambassadors for Youth program, which provides counseling and tutoring in community centers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s