May 6, 2020
Have you ever stopped to think about what the phrase, “school to
prison pipeline” really means? What about who it affects? Chances
are unless an issue affects you or your loved ones personally, it’s
not at the top of your priority list of concerns.
Sara and Misasha have been tackling election issues, and this
particular one took center stage during the first round at the
Democratic Presidential Debates last July.
If we fix our school system, we have a better chance of fixing
the current prison pipeline. Listen in to this heart-wrenching
exploration of the link between education and incarceration.
- According to a 2003 report by the Bureau of Justice:
- 68% of state prison inmates in Colorado did not receive a high
- 41% of inmates in the nation’s state and federal prisons and
local jails had dropped out of school.
- This is the last report filed but these numbers continue to be
referenced by the government.
- Most studies estimate the rate of incarcerated people who have
not received a high school diploma at 65% - 74%. For many, prison
is replacing higher education.
- ‘School to prison pipeline’ is “a term that describes how
American kids get pushed out of public schools and into the
juvenile and criminal justice systems”, according to a 2015 report
by AJ+ and The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that
focuses on the criminal justice system.
- The ‘push out’ often starts with zero-tolerance policies that
result in harsh punishments like out-of-school suspensions.
- Sara and Misasha discuss the long-term negative impacts that a
student experiences upon being suspended.
- Getting an education reduces the chances of imprisonment and
also reduces the chance for repeat offenses.
- African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately caught up
in the criminal justice system. Together, they made up half of the
US prisoners in 2017 but represent a combined 32% of the general
- Reducing suspensions must be a key part of disrupting the
school to prison pipeline.
- Research shows that being suspended just once in 9th grade
doubles the likelihood that a student will drop out of high
- Many want to blame the schools for the problem, but we’re not
giving schools the money, resources, and training to create and
- Homelife and parent involvement are crucial to addressing
student behavior and recidivism.
- The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in
the US Department of Justice report that more than 230,000 children
aged 14 and under were arrested in 2017.
- The disproportionately harsh discipline that black children
encounter often begins when children are literally in or just
transitioning out of diapers.
- Data indicates that preschoolers (ages 2-4) are being expelled
from their learning setting at three or four times the rate of
children in grades K-12.
- Black preschoolers are three times more likely to be suspended
than their peers.
- Black children are disproportionately the victims of
- There is no evidence that black children have worse behavior
than their peers.
- Studies reveal that black children are more often disciplined
for subjective behaviors and white children are more likely to be
disciplined for objective behaviors.
- Misasha shares the meaning of ‘consent decree’ and how it
applies to the US Department of Justice and communities regarding
disparity in school discipline.
- An astounding 33 states don’t have a minimum age for criminal
liability. This makes it legal to prosecute a 5-year old in
- South Carolina has a minimum age of 6.
- In another five states, the minimum age is 7.
- Examples of the outrageous handcuffing and zip-tying of our
- The Trump administration rescinded Obama-era school discipline
guidance, misleadingly citing school safety concerns. This effort
came after the US Department of Education made clear that civil
rights enforcement isn’t a priority.
- How do we protect more 1st and 2nd graders from being
criminalized? Sara shares some ideas about where we need to
- Familiar yourself with your school’s policies on
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