chapter  7
21 Pages

Gendered Expectations and Sexualized Policing: Latinas’ Experiences in a Public High School


As with many of her schoolmates, senior Angelica Vega feels her Southern California High School (SCHS) is “like a prison”. Wrought iron gates enclose it, several security guards patrol it, and occasionally drug-sniffi ng dogs scour it. Such security and punishment are part of what has been called a discipline regime in public schools (Morris 2006; Kupchik 2010). These forms of social control are part of the movement from a welfare state to a penal state, characterizing the neoliberal agenda of privatization and defunding of social programs (Fleury-Steiner 2008). Emerging in the context of “tough on crime” policies and fueled by a culture of fear and the demonizing of youth of color, schools are increasingly using prisonlike tactics, including zero tolerance policies where students caught violating school rules face stricter penalties, including suspensions, expulsions, and maybe even police interventions (Beres and Griffi th 2001; Noguera 2008; Nolan 2011).