School-to-Prison Pipeline

Document Date: March 11, 2008

The ACLU is committed to challenging the “school to prison pipeline,” a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Many of these children have learning disabilities or histories of poverty, abuse or neglect, and would benefit from additional educational and counseling services. Instead, they are isolated, punished and pushed out. “Zero-tolerance” policies criminalize minor infractions of school rules, while cops in school lead students being criminalized for behavior that should be handled inside the school. Students of color are especially vulnerable to push-out trends and the discriminatory application of discipline.

The ACLU believes that children should be educated, not incarcerated. We are working to challenge numerous policies and practices within public school systems and the juvenile justice system that contribute to the school to prison pipeline.

Learn More

>Nationwide Suspension Rates at U.S. Schools:2011-12 (The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project)
> What Is the School-to-Prison Pipeline?
> School-to-Prison Pipeline Game
> Policing In Schools: Developing A Governance Document For School Resource Officers In K-12 Schools
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> Dignity in Schools Campaign (

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