The School-to-Prison Pipeline …How Did We Get in this Mess?

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The school-to-prison pipeline is the result of zero-tolerance policies and practices that push children out of school and into the juvenile or criminal justice system.  Zero-tolerance policies are rooted in the belief that removing students from schools when they when they misbehave makes schools safer. These policies forget we are talking about children and fail to treat each student as an individual by looking at their individual circumstances and learning challenges. This results in harsh school policies and reliance on the use of police and punitive actions such as suspensions, expulsions, and school-arrests to deal with student misbehavior.  Contrary to what most people believe, this is not the way schools have always operated, and there is no educational data or research to support this is helping our schools or children.  The school to prison pipeline also ends up discriminating against children of color.

  • 42% of preschoolers are suspended at least once.
  • 5% of all white students are suspended versus 16% of black students
  • Black girls are 6 times more likely to be suspended than white girls

For change to happen people in the community must come together to let school leaders and policymakers know that the school to prison pipeline must end.  SC Appleseed is connecting students with the help they need to stay in school, and connecting families who have had problems in school with other families to work together on solutions.  We’re helping parents understand that our schools have other ways to solve problems that arise. There are alternatives to zero tolerance available for schools to use such as School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).  This program focuses on redirecting children, keeping them in school and it works. SC Appleseed is working in school districts to help them implement better policies to make sure all kids have the chance to succeed.

Many voices are needed to speak out on behalf of kids at risk.  Will you be one of those voices?  Contact us to find out how to start making a difference.

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