Florida Atlantic University announced today a marketing deal with private prison company GEO Group. For $6 million, the Owls stadium in Boca Raton will be named Geo Group Stadium.
This is perfectly appropriate in a state Florida with a highly developed school-to-prison pipeline. The Sunshine State sends 8,000 students a year to detention centers for behavior that used to earn them a trip to the principal's office -- including yelling in class or refusing to take a cell phone out of a pocket.
The Orlando Sentinel recently reported on the arrest of 12-year-old Nalani Bolden:
Nalani, now 13, had been suspended from Avalon Middle for a string of minor offenses — excessive talking, tardiness and a cellphone infraction — and banned from campus.
But a telephone message about the suspension never reached her, so Nalani went to school that morning in May. When a dean spotted her, she told Nalani to go to the office. Nalani "became irate" and refused, even after the school's resource officer confronted her. She was then arrested for trespassing.
The deputy handcuffed her, walked her through a crowd of students in the courtyard and put her in the back of a police car.Florida isn't the only state with a school-to-prison pipeline. Meridian, Miss., for example, was sued by the U.S. Justice Department for incarcerating schoolchildren because they threw peanuts on a bus or violated the dress code. (Mississippi, by the way, just recently outlawed slavery.) And in Arizona, private prison employees are used in drug sweeps at high schools.
We wonder, though, about those Owls' games at FAU. What will happen when a player commits an infraction? Handcuffs? A quick trip to a detention center?