I’d love to hear the 911 call for the water balloon fight. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so disturbing.

The water balloon incident happened in May 2013

When police were called to get kids to stop throwing water balloons at Enloe High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, seven kids got charged with misdemeanors: Six for disorderly conduct and the seventh for assault and battery after throwing a water balloon at a school security officer. A parent who protested was arrested.

Alarmingly, cops being called on kids in school isn't as unusual as you might think. The days of just going to the principal's office — and that's it — are over in some schools.



School administrators around the U.S. are getting tougher with misbehaving kids, meting out suspensions, expulsions, and even arrests.

The evidence suggests that these punishments are having a terrible lifelong impact on the students.

It puts them into the so-called "school-to prison pipeline."

It's not even like the schools are necessarily going after kids for serious things, either.

95% of out-of-school suspensions are for non-violent misbehaviors.


The dangerous result is that every one of these kids gets the message:


Once that happens, it's a slippery slope.


  • Kids who get sent to juvenile detention centers are 67% more likely to be back in jail by the time they're 25.

Certain groups receive the bulk of the discipline, making this even more troubling.

Wade County, North Carolina, has one of the most active school-to-prison pipelines. In that school, 40% of black kids caught with cellphones were suspended while only 17% of the white kids caught were punished with suspension.

Only 29% of public school kids are black and Latino, and yet they receive 70% of the in-school arrests.

Special needs students are often caught up in this, too.

32% of the kids in juvenile detention centers are special needs kids.

They're often sent there for their special-needs behaviors.

Are all schools involved in this?

Thankfully, no.

But as America tries to improve its education system — and as administrators try to deal with behavior challenges — the school-to-prison pipeline makes it clear that too often kids are being set up for a dark, hopeless future. There must be a better way to deal with kids acting out. For now, the school-to-prison pipeline is one of the reasons the U.S. jails more people than any other country.

Here's Brave New Films' explanation of the school-to-prison pipeline:

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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